On Thursday, President Barack Obama pushed ahead with a new and improved focus on immigration, after the crash-and-burn launch of the still-smoldering Obamacare exchange website. The President is pushing for "common-sense immigration," and crossing his fingers for bipartisan support. His approach is three-pronged: Tighter border control; requiring employers to verify their employee's immigration/citizenship status; and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
After the shutdown drama ended, which hand-in-hand with Obamacare controversy had overshadowed any talk of reform, Obama quickly named immigration one of his top three priorities for the year. A sweeping Senate reform bill, which Obama has publicly supported, passed the upper chambers but is currently stagnant in the Republican-led House. House Speaker John Boehner is open to reform, but not in the form of a single bill; the Republican Party, he said, would be more likely to go for a step-by-step approach, although they generally remain opposed to the whole pathway-to-immigration thing.
And Obama's willing to listen. Really. “Anyone still standing in the way of this bipartisan reform should at least explain why,” the President announced. “If House Republicans have new and different additional ideas for how we should move forward, then we should hear them. I will be listening.”
To become law, Obama's plan will also have to win over labor groups, who are sort of upset about the Obama administraiton's record number of deportations.
"President Obama can advance immigration reform by using his existing legal authority to alleviate the suffering of immigrants," said Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Labor Organizing Network.
In an address Thursday morning, Obama noted that immigration reform could only benefit the country. "It's good for our economy, it's good for our national security," he said. "It's good for our people, and we should do it this year."
He also added that it was a way for Congress to "prove it can get something done."
So take that, guys. And play nicely.