Immigration Reform Sparks Heated White House Debate

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Issues of immigration reform became a pivotal topic of debate in the White House last month as President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators offer two varying plans to streamline citizenship and address the problems that may run parallel. 

The key point of the proposal is that “pathway to citizenship” must be rethought and made easier for millions who work, pay taxes, and deserve to be awarded citizenship. Details of the bill, that is now facing possible changes in the Senate, are still unknown as reports say there is a lot of secrecy around deliberation. 

Proposals for reforming immigration have been passed in and out of the White House for decades. Many are skeptical that, as similar bipartisan bills have been rejected by the House in recent years, this bill will not see the light of day. 

While President Obama is pushing for urgent reform to federal immigration laws and expressing concern for the millions of immigrants affected, others, including many Republicans, are warning that swift action is not the answer. Some are concerned that if legalization methods are relaxed, many who came to the United States illegally will be given a stamp of approval, promoting illegal entry, and creating a “permanent underclass.” Supporters of an improved citizenship process argue that many immigrants who have lived in the country for years and decades have put in the effort to become legal, have worked hard, and have potential to contribute even more to the U.S. economy, but were prevented from doing so due to unnecessarily difficult legalization methods, such as overly-complex English proficiency tests.

The debate on immigration law, as with gun control, can be emotional and convoluted as it affects the lives of real people, their loved ones, families, and livelihood; but it also involves issues of employment law, business owners and big-picture concerns for enforcement resources, economy, and long-term consequences. It is clear that a solution won’t be formed overnight, but regardless of which side you stand on, most would agree that it is time significant efforts are made toward improving immigration processes in the United States. 

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