Obama's Immigration Reform: 'You Can Come Out of the Shadows'

By Julissa Catalan


Despite mounting opposition from Republicans, President Obama kept his vow to “fix the system” by sidestepping Congress and addressing the current immigration crisis with an executive action.

The President’s plan will allow undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents—or green-card holders—to legally live and work in the U.S. for a period of three years. This also includes undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children who are eligible for protected status.

However, this does not entitle undocumented immigrants to vote or make them eligible for Obamacare.

“Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I’m describing is accountability—a common-sense, middle-ground approach,” Obama said. “If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”

The criteria include having been in the U.S. for more than five years, passing a background check, and paying your taxes.

The President emphasized the importance of prioritizing enforcement on those with criminal records, those who participate in terrorist organizations or gangs, and people who have illegally crossed the border in the past year—rather than on hardworking parents.

“If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up,” he said.

“Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids,” Obama added. “We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.”

His plan will also streamline legal immigration to boost the U.S. economy by expanding work authorization for skilled workers already in line for a green card.

However, Obama insisted that his plan includes deploying additional resources to strengthen the U.S. border.

Watch President Obama’s speech on immigration in its entirety below:

Republicans in Congress have long criticized Obama for his stance on immigration, blaming him for this year’s surge in undocumented minors, calling the 2012 deferred-deportation program—which allows minors who entered the U.S. illegally before 2007 to conditionally stay in the country— “an invitation” to illegal immigrants.

They had asked the President to wait until 2015 to impose a reform—at which point Republicans will control the House and Senate.

According to White House officials, the President did not want to wait, as the House has indicated it will not address immigration reform in the next Congress.

Congressional Republicans promised to do everything in their power to block the President’s plan. Some are calling for impeachment, while some want to sue the President in federal court.

“The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every Democratic President for the past half-century,” Obama said.

Latest News

Tennessee

Tennessee Lawmakers Move to Ban Education Against Racism in State’s Public Schools

In recent months, Republican-led states have already moved to enact racist and hyper restrictive voter registration laws, strip rights from LGBTQ individuals and attack trans students and their families — but their ongoing efforts to attack Democrats, populations of color and other diverse individuals don’t appear to be stopping there….

Latinx voting

New Study Reveals 1 Out of Every 10 Voters in 2020 Presidential Election was Latinx — a New Record in Representation

Thanks to extraordinary registration efforts and incredibly high turnout among younger and U.S.-born Hispanics, a new study conducted at the City University of New York has found that voting rates for Latinx men and women reached a new record high during the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. Suzanne Gamboa of NBC…

Mastercard building

Mastercard Commits $25 Million+ To Ensure Equitable Access to Vaccines Across the Globe, Partnering With Global Citizens VAX LIVE Campaign

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   COVID-19 has taken its toll in every region, every country and every community. The accessibility of vaccines and therapeutics are not ubiquitous across the globe, leaving vulnerable populations disadvantaged. Mastercard…

Marriott International building

Marriott International Named to DiversityInc Hall of Fame — The First and Only Hospitality Company To Achieve This Distinction

Originally published at news.marriott.com. Marriott International is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   After leading the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020, Marriott International, Inc. was named to the DiversityInc Hall of Fame, as the first hospitality company joining previously number one ranked companies. DiversityInc announced this recognition on May…

Capital One: ‘Freedom To Be You’

Originally published at capitalonecareers.com. Capital One Financial ranked No. 28 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Cindy Viener joined Capital One in 2009 and leads Product Management for several of its Card platforms, including Marketing, Rewards, Payments and Customer Resiliency. Viener has also served…

social media

GLAAD Declares Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube ‘Effectively Unsafe’ for LGBTQ Users

In a first-of-its-kind report on “user experience” for the country’s leading social media platforms, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has declared Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube “effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users.” Cynthia Silva from NBC News reported that GLAAD’s inaugural “Social Media Safety Index” report originally…