Immigration between the Obama Administration and Congress:
United States immigration policy has been an issue of major political debates and controversies for several decades. The controversy surrounding the nation’s immigration policy is partly because policymakers are increasingly considering the need to maintain global competitiveness through attracting top overseas talent against the need to curtail illegal immigration and secure the country’s borders (Lee par, 1). In the past few years, the debate on immigration has focused on how to restructure a more bureaucratic visa application process and deal with millions of undocumented immigrants that are already living in the country. These initiatives have focused specifically on addressing young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents. In addition, the current focus on U.S. immigration policy looks at implementing policy at local level without endangering public trust across immigrant communities.
Obama Administration v. Congress:
As the controversy continues, the issue of U.S. immigration policy has attracted different arguments between the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress. These differing arguments have had significant impacts on the country to an extent that federal legislation on comprehensive reform on immigration has slowed down in recent years. The slow pace of comprehensive reform has partly been influenced by these arguments though the Obama Administration and U.S. Congress have constantly showed willingness to adopt a bi-partisan approach towards immigration. The other reason for the slow progress is because the Obama Administration has leaned towards enforcement-based policies for preventing illegal immigration. On the other hand, states have adopted restrictive immigration policies, which have contributed to huge divisions between federal and state authorities.
One of the major arguments between the Obama Administration and the Congress on immigration surrounds the proposal by the government to adopt a comprehensive approach towards immigration reform. The Obama Administration has sought to achieve this objective through the enactment of the DREAM Act i.e. Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors legislation. The legislation has attracted considerable debates because it is geared towards providing a framework to citizenship for undocumented youth who were brought to the United States with their families or parents. While the bill passed the House in late 2010, it did not garner adequate votes and support to trounce a Senate filibuster. The Obama Administration has been pushing for the enactment of this legislation since it would no longer deport undocumented youths who immigrated to the country before 16 years and below 13 years.
The U.S. Congress has opposed this measure as evident in the fact that the bill has continued to stall at the Congress on various occasions. The Congress has in turn argued and supported a piecemeal approach towards immigration policy rather than comprehensive reform approaches. The U.S. Congress considers a piecemeal approach as an initiative that would jump-start the moribund process on immigration (“Congress: Piecemeal on Immigration?” par, 2).
The second major issue for varying arguments between the Obama Administration and the Congress is attributed to the pathway to citizenship for immigrants. After failing to convince the Congress to adopt a comprehensive immigration reform approach, President Obama used his executive powers to enact changes in rules that would make it easier for families with undocumented relatives in the country. The executive policy decision or administrative rule change lessened the time it takes for families with undocumented immigrants are isolated from their citizen relatives while seeking for legitimate status. The rule change removed the requirement that illegal immigrants leave the country for long periods before requesting the government to relinquish its ban on legitimately re-entering America. Secondly, the president made a major concession for children of undocumented immigrants by suspending deportations and enables them to stay in the United States through a deferred action policy. On the contrary, Congress has opposed the Obama Administration’s policy on immigration by arguing that the administration’s insistence on a pathway to citizenship is the main hurdle for achieving a bi-partisan breakthrough (Matthews par, 16). The Congress proposes the enactment of policies that start with securing the country’s borders and streamlining and enhancing the legal immigration system. While it opposes citizenship for people who violated the law on immigration, it does not oppose giving legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country.
Analysis of Arguments:
The Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress need to work together towards reforming the country’s immigration policy. While these arguments and counterarguments continue to dominate the debates between the Obama Administration and the Congress, the most effective approach towards reform on immigration policy is to adopt a piecemeal approach. The effectiveness of this approach is demonstrated in the support it has received from the Congress and President Obama’s recent decision to support it. Through this approach, each of these arms of government would identify a specific policy and enact it before proceeding to the next one and eventually result in the achievement of comprehensive immigration reform.
In conclusion, U.S. immigration policy has been a hot topic in the country that attracted debates across the general public and policymakers. The Obama Administration and Congress have raised varying arguments regarding immigration due to differences in the kind of policies to be adopted. However, these arguments and counterarguments can be dealt with through concerted efforts towards immigration reform by adopting a piecemeal approach.
“Congress: Piecemeal on Immigration?” First Read on NBC News. NBCNews.com, 20 Nov. 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2013. .
Lee, Brianna. “The U.S. Immigration Debate.” Council on Foreign Relations – Renewing America. Council on Foreign Relations, 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2013. .
Matthews, Laura. “Immigration Reform News: Advocates Say Bill Isn’t Dead ‘Until We Say So'” International Business Times. IBT Media Inc., 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2013. .
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