White House continues push for immigration reform

16:09, September 29, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

A White House official on Tuesday continued the administration's push for comprehensive immigration reform, indicating that a debate over the emotional issue may be underway sooner rather than later.

Speaking at a think tank event in Washington, White House Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Melody Barnes noted that Bob Menendez, a Democratic senator from New Jersey, said he planned to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the near future.

Revamping the immigration system is an issue that cannot be pushed aside, even if tackling it is not politically savvy, Barnes said.

"Ignoring these challenges may be good for the next elections, but it is not good for our country. It does not help us build long-term prosperity," she said. "And that is why the president has instructed his team, and the White House and his cabinet to work to pass comprehensive immigration reform."

There are around 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and overhauling the nation's immigration system is a contentious issue. While many Democrats support Obama's vision of reform, opponents said allowing a path to citizenship for undocumented workers -- one of U.S. President Barack Obama's key proposals for reform -- will result in even more illegal immigration.

Echoing a message Obama has voiced in the past, Barnes outlined the reforms the administration wants to put in place.

The reforms include beefing up border security, improving technology for the verification of legal status, and imposing stiffer penalties on companies that hire immigrants illegally as well as a path to citizenship in which undocumented workers would get in line behind legal immigrants who have waited for years, she said.

"Immigration reform just makes good common sense," Barnes said.

Reform would also ensure that undocumented workers fully pay their share of taxes, she said, adding that the extra revenue could help address some of the current fiscal challenges the United States is facing.

A comprehensive immigration reform package would also address the barriers experienced by those who wish to immigrate legally to the United States, and Barnes said that an overhaul would encourage highly skilled workers to move to and remain in the United States.

Indeed, it is difficult for foreign students educated in the United States to remain there after graduation, due to visa restrictions. Both they and major U.S. corporations have complained about the long lines and morass of red tape through which foreign talent must wade in order to obtain a work visa.

Obama has said that current laws amount to the United States training overseas competition, as many foreign graduates of top U.S. universities are forced to return home when they cannot obtain visa sponsorship.

"Immigrants can help create demand for new goods and services which employ thousands of American workers and help make our economy more dynamic," Barnes said.

"We can all think of the companies, the CEOs, the entrepreneurs, the innovators, who have been doing that in America over time and in recent months and years," she said.


【1】 【2】

(Editor:张茜)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion