Obama to Make Immigration Reform a Priority This Year; Seeks Law to Legalize Undocumented Workers
President Obama plans to move fairly quickly on immigration law reform, hoping to evolve a proposal for Congress to look at this fall that includes making illegal immigrants legal.
The New York Times quotes administration officials who say Obama has made immigration a significant priority. He plans to talk to the American people about it in a speech in May, build consensus among various groups and present a bill to Congress.
One of Obama's stated goals before the election was to find a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented workers in this country -- in other words, a type of amnesty.
The political ramifications for the president could be huge because of the deep-felt opinions held by Americans on various sides of the immigration debate.
With millions of people unemployed during a vicious recession, even Democrats are likely to be divided on the issue. The pricetag for Obama's plan, whatever it is, will come on the heels of the largest spending bills in history.
For illegal immigrants -- some who have been here for years, some who were taken here as children -- this is the chance they've been waiting for. They'll be able to stay on the job, keep their kids in American schools, gain access to better health care and drive through town without worrying that Sheriff Arpaio may be watching.
UPDATE: Time Magazine reports this afternoon that Obama's spokespeople are trying to back-spin the NY Times story, with spokesman Robert Gibbs saying, "I don't think [Obama] thinks it can be done this year."
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