Potential pathway to fair immigration reform in the US

Published: 15/08/2009

The long-running issue of immigration reform in the US has taken a positive turn.

President Obama spoke at a press conference on August 10th and gave his clearest indication yet that the first draft of a reform is planned by the end of the year. This potential development will have wide-reaching repercussions for marriage and spousal visa applications, most notably those in same-sex relationships.

The much-anticipated but highly controversial reforms have lead to President Obama being heavily criticised, especially as the previous Government had not pushed the issue through congress for some time due to these concerns.

President Obama spoke openly about the criticism, saying, “Fortunately, what we’ve been able to do is to begin meeting with both Democrats and Republicans from the House and the Senate. I would anticipate that before the year is out we will have draft legislation along with sponsors potentially in the House and the Senate who are ready to move this forward, and when we come back next year, that we should be in a position to start acting.”

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the proposed legislation is that of same-sex relationships, with the suggestion that same-sex marriage and long-term partnerships should be considered for inclusion in the family reunion scheme. Although this potential draft bill will take some time to go through the process of being assessed to become law in the United States, it is one element in President Obama’s priority issue to legalise millions of illegal immigrants that currently live in the US.

It has been suggested that President Obama will give other highly-visible issues such as health care and financial regulatory reform precedence over immigration reform. However, President Obama said, “Now, I’ve got a lot on my plate and it’s very important for us to sequence these big initiatives in a way where they don’t all crash at the same time.” He continued, “But ultimately, I think the American people want fairness…we’re giving an opportunity for those already in the United States to be able to achieve a pathway to citizenship so that they don’t have to live in the shadows.”

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