President Barack Obama recently visited Miami, Florida, where he addressed nearly 300 individuals on the current state of his comprehensive immigration reform initiatives. The discussion, which The New York Times reports took place at Florida International University, provided a sounding board for the president to answer questions from members of the nation concerned about the process for gaining American citizenship. While the discussion focused primarily on frustrations surrounding Republican efforts to block the reform movement, Obama’s comments covered a wide array of issues.
Efforts made at blocking finances
One of the most detrimental hurdles that the immigration reform initiative has faced up to this point has been the concern of proper financing. In order to process the applications of vast numbers of undocumented immigrants seeking citizenship, the Department of Homeland Security requires a great deal of money to allocate the appropriate staff and resources. According to the New York Times, the current financing available for immigration initiatives within DHS will expire at the end of February unless a bill is passed allowing for it to remain. Throughout his discussion, President Obama maintained a strong resolve that he would veto any attempts to block the necessary funds, which could be great news for supporters of comprehensive immigration reform.
The Miami Herald reported that a federal judge in Texas has made efforts to stall Obama’s immigration initiatives for as long as possible. In speaking on this matter, Obama was not dissuaded from his reform goal, and he insisted that stalling his plan to allow undocumented immigrants work permits would be an unwise move.
“We have appealed very aggressively, we’re going to be as aggressive as we can,” Obama said. “In the meantime, what we can say to Republicans is ‘Instead of trying to hold hostage funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is so important for our national security, fund that and let’s get on with actually passing comprehensive immigration reform.'”
A call to action for immigrants
Obama emphasized the importance of undocumented immigrants seeking work permits to stay the course. Fox News has reported that he encouraged these individuals to ensure that they have all of their necessary paperwork ready to submit when these legal issues are lifted. The idea behind this line of reasoning is believed to be an attempt to hit the ground running when and if the existing blocks on his reform plan are lifted. Particularly, Obama said that it was critical for these individuals to be ready to demonstrate a lengthy residency in the country when the time came to apply for permits. This way, if all of his initiatives end up taking hold, the process of staving off deportation for undocumented workers can begin immediately.
“People should be gathering up their papers, make sure you can show you are a longstanding resident of the United States,” said the president.