President Obama has always insisted that immigration reform is a top priority for the president’s first term. The president’s position on was recently reiterated by White House spokesman Nick Shapiro who said that “the president has consistently said that he wants to start the discussion later this year because our immigration system is broken … but the economy comes first.” The big “but” is what generally concerns all those who are pushing for reform. However, another spokesperson for the president informed the press that the president intends to try to take comprehensive immigration reform to the floor later this year, probably in the fall. Cause for hope. Additional reasons for hope include the following:
First, the president considers himself to be a great “multi-tasker.” (See the president’s rebuffing of candidate McCain who proposed that the debates cease so they could focus on the economic crisis). This goes to the fact that the president can work both on the economy and the broken immigration system currently in place at the same time, meaning that the “big but” should not be an obstacle that the multi-tasking president cannot overcome.
Second, the president supported former president Bush’s reform. As a senator, Obama supported immigration legislation that would have increased funding and improved border security technology, improved enforcement of existing laws, and provided a legal path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Third, and finally, there appears to be support for reform on the Hill. Senator Schumer, from New York, explained yesterday that Congress was willing to work with Obama on comprehensive immigration reform. The Senator stated that “[w]e must solve the immigration issue, and we can, even in these difficult economic times. I believe there is a real chance of passing comprehensive reform this year, and the Senate panel on immigration will begin a series of meetings and hearings later this month with an eye towards meeting that goal.”
With immigration reform possibly on the horizon, I have two pieces of advice for those immigrants who could potentially benefit from the reform. First, behave yourself. If your record is clean, your path to legalization will no doubt be easier. Second, save your money. There will no doubt be fines to pay and filing fees as well, just as with 245(i) back in 2001. Save now.