The President of the United States, Barrack Obama made a historic announcement on 20th Nov, 2014 regarding a new immigration plan. The new plan is aimed towards protecting 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation from the USA. The announcement is being seen as a legacy-defining step that has infuriated the Republicans in Congress.
Implication of the President’s announcement
President Obama’s plan focuses to grant protection to nearly half of the United States’ 11 million undocumented immigrants. The announcement has brought immense satisfaction and relief among immigrants who have fought for years for such respite. The new plan will enable undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, known as green card holders, to legally live and work in the USA for a period of three years.
Applicants will be required to prove that they have been living in the country for a minimum period of 5 years. The President also included in his plan for protected status all undocumented immigrants who had been brought to the country as children (only to those who came to the U.S. by January 1, 2010).
Around 3.7 million undocumented immigrants are expected to qualify for the immigration plan under the new guidelines. But the plan does not include any relief for parents of DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] recipients or childless undocumented immigrants staying in the country for long periods of time.
Principles of President Obama’s new immigration policy
The new immigration policy of President Obama can be seen as a set of principles directed towards building an effective immigration system that lives up to United States’ heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
- Streamline Legal Immigration
- Enhance Border Security
- Strengthen law enforcement
- Provide a legal way for undocumented immigrants to work and stay
- Prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers
Does the immigration plan include citizenship for immigrants?
President Obama’s immigration plan is meant to build an effective immigration system that will work towards cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. It’s a plan to bring any undocumented immigrant under the umbrella of law and to make them pay taxes and a penalty.
However, the new immigration plan does not extend U.S. citizenship or green cards for the undocumented immigrants. The plan makes the immigrants eligible for work permits, Social Security numbers and relief from deportation for three years. However, the guarantee for deportation will not hold good for an immigrant if he or she commits a serious criminal offense.
What does the move mean for foreign workers?
The immigration plan helps the cause of foreign workers who harbour a wish to work in the USA. It is slated to change the rules that dictate the policy of foreign workers with high-tech training. The move makes it easy for non-American citizens with training in high-tech fields to gain entry into the United States and stay in the country.
Earlier, foreign workers were sponsored by American employers. But it posed problems for the workers if they had to find a new job and start working for a new employer.
The new immigration plan of the President will bring in portability and make it easier for the workers to find different jobs.
However, the plan does not include expansions of programs related to workers with low skills that would benefit the construction, agriculture and retail industries.
What does the move mean for foreign entrepreneurs?
President Obama’s new immigration plan will affect the way foreign entrepreneurs can enter the United States. Under the new plan entrepreneurs will be required to prove that they will invest a certain sum of money – for some visas, that can amount up to $1 million.
The new plan enables foreign entrepreneurs to use American investors as their basis for gaining entry into the country.
Opposition from Republicans for the new immigration plan
Republicans in Congress are not at all pleased with the President’s new approach and are opposed to the idea of implementing the immigration plan.
The Republicans have questioned the legality of the President’s move. They are of the opinion that the President has ignored the will of the American people. They have promised to do everything in their power to block the President’s actions.
New immigration plan does not indicate amnesty
President Obama said that mass amnesty would be unfair and mass deportation would be both impossible and against the United States’ character. The new move was a middle-ground approach to streamline those undocumented immigrants who meet the criteria for the new plan.
As far as the millions of undocumented immigrants are concerned, the new immigration plan is a very significant move that will have immense impact on their lives.
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