Friday, April 10, 2009

Obama to move ahead on immigration reform

(CNN) -- The White House is planning to start addressing the nation's immigration system as early as May, two senior administration officials said Thursday.

President Obama will rely on a bipartisan, diverse group of experts to help build the framework for legislation, the officials said.

One official noted that immigration will not be "on the same track" as other key initiatives like health care and energy, and "nobody's promising legislation or a vote this year."

There are roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. In addition to making a way for some of them to stay in the country legally, CNN has learned the Obama administration wants to remove incentives to enter the U.S. illegally, beef up border security and work with Mexico to cut down on illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, the administration is dismissing suggestions that taking on immigration this year will put pressure on Obama's already ambitious domestic agenda.

Moving forward on immigration would fulfill another campaign promise. The president acknowledges that tackling this issue will be challenging.

(full article)

(related opinion piece)
Mr. Obama (and Mr. Navarrette):

The Immigration issue is not only about illegals. These are people who, for whatever reasons (and there are many) are here in violation of our laws. Yes, it's a problem. Yes it requires a solution. Perhaps a path to legalization is appropriate; perhaps not. This can and should be debated.

But what of the fate of the many thousands of people who have come here legally, have done all that has been requested of them, have paid their taxes, paid their attorneys fees, worked hard, struggled with our bureaucracy, all for a chance to become American Citizens so that they can carve out their own piece of the so-called American Dream, vote, pay their taxes, and generally participate in and contribute to our society?

Please take a look at their plight. Many have been waiting years, in some cases over a decade just for a "green card". And our immigration "service" seemingly capriciously, bumbles through its tasks, slips its schedules, and generally unfairly allocates from the immigration status quotas. This system needs a complete overhaul. We need to treat people who've been stuck in this disastrous cycle fairly and approve their requests expeditiously. If we wish to limit the numbers of legal immigrants, we need to do that on the front end, not after they've already been waiting patiently and playing by our fickle rules for many years.

To attend to the needs of illegal immigrants before those of people who've always played by the rules sends the wrong message loud and clear.

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