By Abraham HuieStaff Writer

“Si se puede… Si se puede,” chanted the crowd at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas this past Tuesday. The traditional Latino chant of encouragement and hope evoked optimism for the country’s immigrant community as President Obama promised to aggressively pursue immigration policy and a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented individuals currently living and working in the United States. While Obama’s calls for change are contingent on a bilateral agreement between both houses of congress, Obama stressed that reform will not fall victim to the polarizing congressional politics of the past. Further, the President stressed that he would intervene personally by drafting his own immigration bill if congress fails to come to a consensus.

Obama’s announcement comes a day after 8 senators crafted an immigration reform bill that is expected receive bipartisan support. While Obama’s own suggestions echo the sentiment expressed by the bill, including concessions such as strengthening border security and fortifying the ‘back of the line’ registration process; Obama’s announcements signify a reason for optimism.

The president’s plan will streamline a, “system that has been broken for far too long.” Emphasizing that mere common sense indicates that immigration reform is a necessary step to unleash the nation’s economic potential. The president hopes to build on breakthroughs such as deferred action, which provides childhood arrivals an opportunity to seek employment and remain in the country legally. Obama’s plan includes creating a provisional legal status for undocumented immigrants and laborers to apply for green cards: with an emphasis on individuals pursuing higher education and the armed services.

The president’s speech should reverberate amongst the ears of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, and the millions immigrant hopefuls throughout the world. While the road ahead for immigration reform still requires more political maneuvering and extensive debate, the latest developments in Washington have brought the immigration movement extraordinary momentum. In the near future, anyone who “who is willing to work hard and play by the rules” will have the opportunity to call the United States their lawful home.

The power that U.S. Latinos exhibited at the ballot box in November 2012 and that was key to President Obama’s reelection sets the stage for real immigration reform in 2013.    The immigration system urgently needs to be corrected and the U.S. Congress must resolve the fate of almost 12,000,000 undocumented persons who live, and work in the U.S. and who do not pose a national security or public safety risk.

President Obama has indicated that he will make comprehensive immigration reform a top priority in his second term saying, “it is the right thing to do… and he will not give up”.

No doubt President Obama will continue to face tough challenges from the Republicans, but it is believed that the Obama administration is already working behind the scenes to get this done in 2013.  It is expected that a bill will be introduced to the House of Representatives as early as March.

It is also anticipated that the bill will be a comprehensive reform package and will likely include proposals for such matters as:

- A Path to Citizenship

- An Employer Hiring Verification System

- Continued Security at U.S. Borders …and more.

You can be sure that we at The Law Offices of Paul C. Supple have the up-to-date news on all matters related to immigration law.  Call us if you have any questions. 

During President Obama’s first term, the Republican controlled Congress opposed any attempts to introduce new immigration policy.  As a result, little progress was made with immigration reform and millions of undocumented individuals are still living in the U.S. in a state of uncertainty.

Nevertheless, President Obama did manage to issue some executive orders that showed signs of goodwill and hope for the Hispanic and undocumented community.  First, Homeland Security will primarily focus on removing undocumented individuals who pose security or safety risks and will defer from deporting young people who were brought to the U.S. by no fault of their own.  (It is believed that this order affects over a million young people). Obama further ordered that the USCIS implement a process for these young people to remain in the United States.  The process and criteria known as Deferred Action will require them to submit an application with specific documentation.

In addition to Deferred Action, Homeland Security posted a final rule known as a provisional unlawful presence waiver.  This waiver is expected to significantly reduce the time that a U.S. citizen is separated from relatives that are in the process of becoming lawful permanent residents.  These separations will be reduced by adjusting the departure times from the United States— for final visa interviews— to the countries of origin. This new rule will take effect on March 4, 2013.

To learn more about Deferred Action and the “provisional unlawful presence waiver” call the Law Offices of Paul C. Supple. 

We are immigration professionals and remain current on all changes to immigration law and citizenship.