President Calling for Immigration Reform
In 2007, the Pew Hispanic Center noted a record number of undocumented immigrants in the country, with 12 million living in the United States. Though the number fell to 11.1 million two years later, it has largely remained steady, with 11.2 million undocumented workers calling the U.S. “home” in 2010.
While there are more than double the number of U.S. agents protecting the U.S.-Mexican border, the number of people arrested for illegally crossing into the country has fallen by 36 percent, according to statistics compiled by The Wall Street Journal.
Chris Newman, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, notes that the economy is the primary factor affecting the numbers of undocumented workers in the country. When economic conditions improve, demand for work increases and the number of undocumented workers coming into the country rises. The current economic uncertainty in the U.S. may contribute to the numbers remaining mostly unchanged over the last few years.
President’s Focus on Immigration
In 2008, President Obama made immigration reform a central component of his campaign. Yet, immigration rights advocates have said the president has not done enough to push the reforms that he campaigned on.
Despite the number of undocumented workers holding steady; our countries increasing debt crisis; the inability of our government to pay for entitlements for our own citizens; and political opposition, President Obama has called for “a new movement” to help undocumented aliens and their families, according to the New York Times. Calling reform a “moral imperative,” the president is focusing on a renewed push to administratively attempting to circumvent the Immigration Act so as to fulfill his political ideals, while at the same time pursuing to change the laws surrounding immigration.
In a recent visit to Texas, President Obama cited the security measures his administration has taken to prevent illegal entry into the country, but also pushed for measures which would help people legally enter the country and become citizens.
The president has long supported the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for those who entered the country before they were 16 years old, completed high school and had no serious criminal record. Though the measure died in the Senate, the president says he remains committed to comprehensive immigration reform.