Yesterday President Obama spoke about his plan to fix the broken immigration system in the United States. His plan was similar to that of the Senate. Below are the highlights from President Obama’s plan:
· Continuing to Strengthen Border Security: Increase border security by increasing Border Patrol Agents (President Obama has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2004) and enhancing the infrastructure and technology to prosecute criminals and catch and prosecute national security threats.
· Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers: Stop businesses from hiring undocumented workers and prosecute those that do. Create or enhance the current system to provide employers a reliable way to verify their employees work status in the United States.
· Earned Citizenship: Provide undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship and the encourage them to come out of the shadows, pay taxes and a penalty, and learn English before being granted citizenship. Criminal and national security background checks will also be required. Undocumented will still have to go to the “back of the line.” Allowed undocumented children who were brought here as children a way to earn their citizenship faster if they join the military or pursue a higher education.
· Streamlining Legal Immigration: Simplify the immigration system. Encourage entrepreneurs and graduate students in science and math to come to America and stay.
It will be interesting to see if and how this plan changes the current immigration system. There are currently 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. As a practitioner of immigration law, Obama’s plan does not lay out the specifics of how the plans to allow undocumented immigrants a way to stay or to obtain citizenship. Currently, a person who is undocumented may joint the armed forces and at the end of boot camp, obtains their citizenship. This is nothing new. Let’s see if Obama stands true to his word and really reforms our broken immigration system.