On June 24 and June 25, 2009, there were heartening remarks from the Senate and from the Administration (President Obama) about immigration reform.
On June 24, Senior Democrat Charles Schumer of New York provided a detailed outline of his “get tough” attitude toward illegal immigration yet providing a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. On that note, Schumer indicated that illegal immigration was wrong and the government would try to dramatically reduce future illegal immigration. The Administration wants to make the US borders less porous within a year of enacting any immigration reform bill as well as instituting a biometric-based employer verification system to verify the employment eligibility of workers in the USA. The system would also seek to reunify families and encourage immigration of the “world’s best and brightest individuals” to improve the United States.
On June 25, 2009, President Obama provided an upbeat assessment of his intention to embark on comprehensive immigration reform.
President Obama provided an assessment of comprehensive immigration reform needed including backlogs of immigration background checks, cracking down on unscrupulous employers and protecting alien workers from exploitation. Obama also announced a brand new USCIS website that will provide significant advances to obtaining case status for pending applications. While Obama acknowledge that comprehensive immigration reform is difficult, he also acknowledged that it is important to legalize the 12 million or so undocumented workers in the United States. Obama thought the American people are ready for Congress to take action on immigration reform.
In closing, Obama commended Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham who along with other reform-minded Republicans were helping to make immigration reform a bi-partisan priority.