U.S. Law Center

Immigration reform and the State of the Union

In prior posts we reported on how Senate leaders announced a bipartisan plan to create a comprehensive immigration reform plan, and how President Obama hoped that lawmakers could reach an accord quickly. In this week's State of the Union address, the President formalized his ideals for what such a plan would include.

He reiterated that his conception of reform includes strong border security, a path to citizenship which includes background checks, payment of back taxes, waiting for proper opportunities (i.e. going to the" back of the line") and English proficiency. These elements, which were traditionally conservative and unpopular tenets, are now being viewed as essential parts of a proposal that lawmakers of diverse backgrounds can support.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) gave the Republican Party's response. While he attacked the President on issues of fiscal responsibility and economic growth, his position on immigration reform appeared consistent with what the President expressed. Nevertheless, political analysts believe that conservatives in the House of Representatives may still block legislation should it come to a vote.

Interestingly enough, the term "amnesty" was conspicuously avoided in both parties' messages. The notion of giving suspected illegals a break was taboo six years ago. Framed in terms of a "responsible path to citizenship" it is now viewed as an economic benefit for the undocumented as well as federal and state governments. Perhaps this is another sign that Republicans and Democrats are closer in their views than what is being advertised.

Not only would it make good political sense, it would also repair a immigration reform in need of change.

Source: Daily Beast.com, Obama's 2013 State of the Union Address and the immigration reform moment, February 13, 2013

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