Obama calls for comprehensive reform of immigration system
From Lalit K Jha
Washington, Mar 25 (PTI) US President Barack Obama today said that it was time for a comprehensive and sensible reform to fix the country''s broken immigration system in order to attract "the best and the brightest" the world has to offer.
"Immigration makes us a stronger. It keeps us vibrant. It keeps us hungry. It keeps us prosperous. It is part of what makes this such a dynamic country. And if we want to keep attracting the best and the brightest that the world has to offer, then we need to do a better job of welcoming them," Obama said at a naturalisation ceremony for a group of new US citizens at the White House.
"We''ve known for years that our immigration system is broken, that we''re not doing enough to harness the talent and ingenuity of all those who want to work hard and find a place here in America. And after avoiding the problem for years, the time has come to fix it once and for all. The time has come for a comprehensive, sensible immigration reform," Obama said in his address to the new American citizens.
Obama pointed out that of late there has been bipartisan effort towards this.
"The good news is that we''ve seen some real action in Congress. There are bipartisan groups in both the House and the Senate working to tackle this challenge, and I applaud them for that. We are making progress, but we''ve got to finish the job, because this issue is not new," he said.
"Everyone pretty much knows what''s broken. Everybody knows how to fix it. We''ve all proposed solutions and we''ve got a lot of white papers and studies," Obama said.
"And we''ve just got, at this point, to work up the political courage to do what''s required to be done. So I expect a bill to be put forward. I expect the debate to begin next month. I want to sign that bill into law as soon as possible," he said.
The US President said that real reform means continuing to strengthen the border security and holding employers accountable.
"We know that real reform means providing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently living in the shadows -- a pathway that includes passing a background check and paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English and then, going to the back of the line behind everyone else who is trying to come here legally," he said.
"We know that real reform requires modernising the legal immigration system so that our citizens don''t have to wait years before their loved ones are able to join them in America, and so that we''re attracting the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that are going to help create good paying jobs and grow our economy," Obama said.