The president’s ideas fell into several main categories, which he summed up by saying, “Smarter enforcement, a pathway to earned citizenship, and improvements in the legal immigration system.”
+ Smarter enforcement. The president wants to secure our borders so that it is more difficult for immigrants to cross the border illegally. He also wants to crack down on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented immigrants. "Businesses that knowingly employ undocumented workers are exploiting the system to gain an advantage over businesses that play by the rules," he said. Obama pledges to also provide a reliable way for employers to verify employment eligibility.
+ A path to citizenship. As his plan states, it is just not practical to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. Obama wants to allow those in the country without following protocol to have a chance at citizenship through a series of step. This includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a penalty, learning English, and waiting in line (not literally) behind those who applied first. “It won’t be quick, but it will be fair,” President Obama said.
+ Improve the system. The third area he wants to improve is to update the system for those legally hoping to enter the country. “If you are a citizen, you shouldn’t have to wait years before your family is able to join you in America,” he explained. The president's plan adds: "Our immigration system should reward anyone who is willing to work hard and play by the rules. For the sake of our economy and our security, legal immigration should be simple and efficient."
POTUS said that the plans drafted by the Democratic and Republican senators are very much in line with what he would like to have done. In order to help move the process along, he’s laying out his ideas for Congress to aid them in crafting a bill. If Congress doesn’t act, he will send them a bill based on his proposal.
President Obama acknowledged that there will be disagreements on how to move forward, and that this can be an emotional topic for people with different opinions on the issue. Still, he believes that this time immigration reform will happen. “The question now is simple: do we have the resolve as a people, as a country, as a government, to finally put this issue behind us? I believe that we do.”
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