The U.S. Congress stepped into 2014 with an aim of passing an immigration reform bill. 2014 has come to a close and till date and no progress has been made by the U.S. Congress on the issue. The only remarkable action that was taken this year on immigration is President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform. He used his executive authority and announced an immigration reform plan that will benefit millions of immigrants living here illegally.
Here are few things that happened in 2014.
Immigration reform principles of the House Republicans
In January 2014, Republicans in the House unveiled their immigration reform bill that would put the undocumented immigrants on a path to legal status in the U.S., but not to American citizenship. Under their rules, immigrants applying for legal status will be required to undergo background checks, pay taxes and establish that they are well aware of U.S. history and proficient in English. Though their reform plan will not allow all the undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship, it will put the young undocumented immigrants on a path to citizenship.
After having waited for a long time for the House Republicans to pass an immigration reform bill, President Obama made an announcement in June stating that he will use his executive authority to fix the country’s broken immigration system, without the U.S. Congress. He planned to use his executive authority after House Speaker John Boehner said that his party does not believe that the Obama administration will enforce the reform bill the Congress approves. Boehner’s announcement made immigration advocates believe that the House will not pass any immigration reform bill. So they started to pressurize the President to put an end to deportations by using his Presidential authority.
Followed by that, President Obama directed U.S. Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Eric Holder to find out what actions he can take to fix the country’s immigration system.
In September 2014, President Obama announced that he will not take immediate action on immigration reform. He said that he will take action only after the November elections. He said that he delayed action due to the surge of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing into the U.S.
Several unaccompanied children from Central America illegally crossed the southern border and got into the U.S. Most of them left their home countries due to fear of gang violence and abuse. Some illegally got into the country to reunite with their family members in the U.S. This influx prompted the Obama administration to focus on reducing the number of unaccompanied immigrant minors crossing the U.S. border.
However, his decision to delay action on immigration reform frustrated Hispanics and other immigrants in the country who have been urging him to grant the undocumented immigrants a relief from deportation.
Many believed that Obama delayed action on immigration reform as he wanted to help the members of his party win the November elections and help the party keep control of the U.S. Senate. But the Democratic party lost and the Republicans took control of the Senate. As the Republican party will take control of the House and the Senate in January 2015, immigrants now believe that the U.S. Congress will not pass any immigration reform bill.
However, President Obama kept his promise and on November 20, he announced his immigration reform plan. His plans will not only protect the undocumented immigrants from deportation but will also secure the border. His plan will benefit millions of undocumented adults and youth. Though his plan has left out several immigrants living here, it has gained support from the Latinos.
House Republicans are against the President’s immigration reform plan. They wanted to pass a spending bill that would block the President’s actions. However, they decided to fight against his actions next year and passed a spending bill that only funds U.S. Department of Homeland Security until February 2015.