The time has come to fix the broken immigration system in the United States, President Barack Obama declared yesterday, noting that the revamping of immigration laws has bipartisan support. Although the speech offered little new information, it did put immigration reform firmly back in the spotlight after the bitter wrangling between the major political parties over the country’s debt ceiling.
“We’ve kicked this particular can down the road for too long,” Obama says, singling out for praise the comprehensive reform bill that was passed by the Senate back in June but which has stalled in the House of Representatives ever since, with Republicans preferring to try and come up with their own, smaller bills, but Obama declared it to be a good bill that even has the support of a number of Republicans. “It’s good for our economy, it’s good for our security, it’s good for our people and we should do it this year.”
Obama’s speech aside, however, a bill is unlikely to get an easy ride through Congress, according to a senior House GOP leadership aide, who told CNN that there is a very low expectation that any immigration bill will pass during 2013.
A new CNN poll released just this Wednesday indicates widespread public support for immigration reform, particularly the idea of offering immigrants a pathway to US citizenship so long as certain requirements, such as paying back taxes and fines, learning English and passing criminal background checks, have been met.