Last night, President Obama announced his unilateral “common-sense” immigration reform proposal. In so doing, he granted new legal status to more than 4 million undocumented immigrants. His plan has four main pillars:
- Strengthen Border Security
- Crack Down on Employers who Hire Undocumented Workers
- Create a Path to Earned Citizenship
- Streamline our Legal Immigration System
This should simplify the immigration process, which is now a legal morass, and remove some hurdles to allow prospective US residents a better chance to join. Concerns remain about the additional costs to improve border security, as well as the drastic changes this policy will initiate. Even though Obama would require prospective citizens to pay taxes and an unspecified penalty, critics claim that these changes would stretch a foundering system past the breaking point.
Regardless of how Obama’s immigration reform works in the future, his actions have deepened the partisan divide in Congress. When Republicans take control of both houses of Congress next year, the US may be in for another round of bickering politicians with no bi-partisan solutions in sight.