The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Ready for Another Immigration Debate? President Challenges Congress to Take Action

Border Patrol Truck On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, President Obama challenged Congress "to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in this country right now." Immigration reform has been a hotly debated issue that has not gone away, an issue that was debated heavily in the last two presidential elections. In a White House press release titled, "Fact Sheet: Fixing our Broken Immigration System so Everyone Plays by the Rules," the President outlines key principles that he believes should be included in commonsense immigration reform. Though the President seems optimistic about working with Congress to pass legislation, there still remain issues between the President and Republicans in Congress that could slow down or stop any real reform. The President drew criticism from some Republicans due to his recent comments which seemed to leave out language on securing the border before offering any sort of amnesty to the nearly 11 million undocumented illegal immigrants living in the U.S. The President did praise a bipartisan group of Senators who proposed their own sweeping immigration overhaul on Monday, January 28, 2013. The document released by the bipartisan group included the following introduction: "We recognize that our immigration system is broken. And while border security has improved significantly over the last two Administrations, we still don't have a functioning immigration system. This has created a situation where up to 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows. Our legislation acknowledges these realities by finally committing the resources needed to secure the border, modernize and streamline our current legal immigration system, while creating a tough but fair legalization program for individuals who are currently here. We will ensure that this is a successful permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revised." While the President acknowledged that many of the principles outlined in the bipartisan plan were in line with his own, he did warn that "the closer we get, the more emotional this debate is going to become." He went on to say that if Congress did not move forward in a timely fashion, he would send up a specific measure and demand a vote.