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Immigration Reform: A New Dream, Obama Strikes First

By:  Timothy Sutton, Communications Editor

Hundreds of teary-eyed students at the Dream Resource Center of Los Angeles clapped, cheered, and embraced as President Obama delivered his de facto Dream Act this morning (June 15, 2012). After years of marginally successful advocacy and a waning hope for change, these undocumented student “Dreamers,” have a renewed hope for comprehensive immigration reform. With the power of prosecutorial discretion on their side, 800,000+ Dream Act students will now be free to move about the country without the looming shadow of deportation. Yet, the real triumph of today’s Presidential address was Obama forcing Congress into the conversation of immigration reform and undocumented youth. Today, The President’s speech fostered hope for a bi-partisan solution that will reshape America’s immigration policies for years to come.

The President enacted the administrative enforcement to promote an America of the future that is “More fair, more efficient, and more just.” Obama described the dreamers as “Americans in everyway, but one, on paper.” He echoed the tragic fate of many dreamers raised in America, yet facing deportation, “Suddenly (you) face deportation to a country you know nothing about with a language you don’t speak.” Obama described our country’s origins as one built off the hard work and ingenuity of immigrants. He suggested that we are still that same country, “The only thing that has changed is the politics.”

“It makes no sense to expel talented young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses or defend this country,” said Obama in one breath. Yet, in the next breath he reinforced his harsh policies toward business immigration which,  Focus(es) immigration enforcement in right places, boots on southern boarder, fewer illegal crossing than in the past 40 years, prosecutorial discretion, criminal deportation up 80%, with care and thoughtful improvement on that discretion.

The President is protecting undocumented children because in his words, “It is the right thing to do.” Obama recognized the fleeting nature of his executive discretion in his demands, “Congress needs to act because these kids need to have time to plan their lives past 2 years.”

Beginning Monday, hundreds of thousand of dreamers will wake up wondering how to file paperwork and begin down the path toward being recognized as an American. Under current immigration policies, there are few visa options that allow any foreign students the ability to work and become citizens. Just the other day, the 65,000 H1-B visa cap was reached. Obama pledged his dedication to comprehensive immigration reform for farmers and scientists, “giving certainty to our farmers and ranchers… Balancing a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws.” It is the hope of all business owners across all industries that these newly added immigrant student workers will help reshape our nations attitude toward immigration policies. Because in the words of our President “This is the right thing to do for the American people.”

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