On January 29, President Barack Obama announced his plans for comprehensive immigration reform during a speech at a Hispanic-majority high school in Las Vegas. One day prior, a bipartisan group of Senators released an immigration proposal that Obama said is “very much in line” with the goals he hopes to achieve. The White House will release its own legislation if the Senate-led plan falls short, but officials plan to pass the bill during the summer.
President Obama said that comprehensive immigration reform is common sense, and now is the time to follow through on the promise he made during his first term as in office. He spoke about his plans to create a gateway toward U.S. citizenship for the nation’s 11 undocumented immigrants million in Nevada, where 27 percent of the population is of Hispanic origin. Individuals would need to apply for citizenship, submit biometric data, pay fees and pass background checks before gaining temporary status.
The plan, which was released on January 28, included a strengthened E-Verify system for employers to check the legal status of new hires. President Obama’s plan also includes punishment for businesses that knowingly hire illegal undocumented immigrants.
“We have to make sure that every business and every worker in America is playing by the same set of rules,” Obama said in his speech. “We have to bring the shadow economy into the light so that everybody’s held accountable – businesses for who they hire and immigrants for getting on the right side of the law. That’s common sense. That’s why we need comprehensive immigration reform.”
Representatives from both political parties have put their support behind the Senate’s plan. Advocacy groups, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also supported the proposal.