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Why does US plan to relax immigration policy?

(People's Daily Online)

17:27, February 05, 2013

The illegal immigrant population of the United States, mostly from Mexico and other Latin American countries, now stands at 11 million. The immigration reform launched by U.S. President Barack Obama is mainly about providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, in addition to enhancing border security and cracking down illegal immigration. Why has Obama boldly promoted the immigration reform? What has happened to the U.S. political and economic landscape?

Obama won 72 percent of the Hispanic vote in the presidential election last year, and the proportion of Hispanics in all voters in major swing states rose significantly last year. In order to win more votes, the Republican Party must pay attention to and address the concerns of Hispanic voters, including the immigration reform. Therefore, some prominent Republican figures have changed their stance and shown support for Obama’s immigration reform.

There is a strange phenomenon in the United States. On the one hand, it suffers from persistently high unemployment, and many people cannot find a job. On the other hand, there is a serious lack of technicians in the high-technology, manufacturing, and medical services industries as well as laborers in fruit or vegetable harvesting, restaurants, and hotels. The simplest solution to this problem is granting illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, so as to meet the labor market’s demand for high- and low-caliber workers as well as promote the U.S. economic recovery.

More importantly, the United States can accelerate introducing foreign talents and enhance its competitiveness through the immigration reform. According to Obama’s immigration reform plan, foreign scientists and engineers will receive preferential treatment in applying for green card and many other aspects.

Obama has pledged to do three things during his second term, including reforming the immigration system, stimulating economic growth, and pushing for strict gun control legislation. He has given top priority to the immigration reform. Although some Republican members of the House of Representatives have changed their stance and voiced support for the reform, certain Republican hardliners remain opposed to the reform, saying that it still needs to be discussed. Overall, the immigration reform bill still faces great difficulties in getting passed in the House of Representatives. The future of the immigration reform is determined by the battle between the Democratic and Republican parties in the House of Representatives.

Read the Chinese version: 美为何放松移民政策, source: Jiefang Daily, author: Wu Zhenglong

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