White House prepares for immigration overhaul

Immigration OverhaulOnce the confrontation over fiscal policy is done and dusted, the Obama administration is to commence an all-out drive to achieve comprehensive immigration reform, including giving 11 million illegal immigrants the chance to pursue a path to US citizenship, officials who have been briefed on the plans say.

Although a number of crucial tactical decisions have still yet to be made, President Barack Obama is looking for a catch-all bill that will also include the bolstering of border security measures, the increasing of penalties for employers who hire undocumented immigrants, and to make it easier to allow foreign workers into the country under special US visas, among other elements.

A social media blitz is set to be unleashed in January by senior White House advisors, which is expected to tap into the same unions and organizations that helped get record numbers of Latino voters to vote in last month’s US Presidential election.

Cabinet secretaries are getting ready to make the case for changing immigration laws that will help to benefit businesses, health care, public safety and education, with Congressional committees set to be holding hearings on immigration reform possibly even as early as the end of January or the beginning of February.

“The president can’t guarantee us the outcome, but he can guarantee us the fight,” says Eliseo Medina, who is the Service Employees International Union’s Secretary Treasurer, and helps to represent over two million workers.  “We expect a strong fight,” she adds.