As expected, President Obama put forward his ideas on immigration in his State of the Union speech. The President eloquently described his proposal and the need to ensure that the American economy remains strong and thriving thanks to the entrepreneurship and hard-working ethic of new immigrants.
In the State of the Union speech, President Obama stated that the American economy will remain strong if the country is able to ‘harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants’. The President also highlighted that leaders from all the segments of society agree ‘that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform’.
The President also emphasized the need to shore up border security and ensure that there is a path to ‘earned citizenship’ that will include:
... passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.
He also challenged Congress to put together a comprehensive immigration reform package, which he would sign ‘right away’.
Republicans in Congress reacted positively. Paul Ryan (R-WI) stated that "the tone and the words [used by the President] were productive." Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the senators behind a bipartisan immigration reform framework, said he would "absolutely" get behind the president's demands.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave the official Republican response to the State of the Union, stating that “economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world’s best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally”.
It is expected that the President will now try to sell his proposal directly to the American people, especially those who are skeptical about such an audacious move to enfranchise millions of immigrants. But there is one aspect that makes it possible for the legislation to be passed. The Republican Party cannot afford to further alienate the Hispanic community if they hope to regain the presidency in 2016. Watch out for prominent Republican politicians endorsing immigration reform in the next few moths.
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