FACT SHEET: White House Ė January 29, 2013
Fixing our Broken Immigration System so Everyone Plays by the Rules
It is time to act to fix the broken immigration system in a way that requires responsibility from everyone óboth from the workers here illegally and those who hire themóand guarantees that everyone is playing by the same rules.
President Obamaís commonsense immigration reform proposal has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.
Together we can build a fair, effective and commonsense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
The key principles the President believes should be included in commonsense immigration reform are:
∑ Continuing to Strengthen Border Security: President Obama has doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2004 and today border security is stronger than it has ever been. But there is more work to do. The Presidentís proposal gives law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime. And by enhancing our infrastructure and technology, the Presidentís proposal continues to strengthen our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute national security threats.
Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers:
Our businesses should only employ people legally authorized
to work in the
Earned Citizenship: It is just not practical to
deport 11 million undocumented immigrants living within our
borders. The Presidentís proposal provides
undocumented immigrants a legal way to earn citizenship that
will encourage them to come out of the shadows so they can
pay their taxes and play by the same rules as everyone else.
Immigrants living here illegally must be held responsible
for their actions by passing national security and criminal
background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, going to the
back of the line, and learning English before they can earn
their citizenship. There will be no uncertainty about their
ability to become
Streamlining Legal Immigration: Our immigration
system should reward anyone who is willing to work hard and
play by the rules. For the sake of our economy and our
security, legal immigration should be simple and efficient.
The Presidentís proposal attracts the best minds to
Continuing to Strengthen Border Security
Strengthen border security and infrastructure.
The Presidentís proposal strengthens and improves
infrastructure at ports of entry, facilitates public-private
partnerships aimed at increasing investment in foreign
visitor processing, and continues supporting the use of
technologies that help to secure the land and maritime
borders of the
∑ Combat transnational crime. The Presidentís proposal creates new criminal penalties dedicated to combating transnational criminal organizations that traffic in drugs, weapons, and money, and that smuggle people across the borders. It also expands the scope of current law to allow for the forfeiture of these organizationsí criminal tools and proceeds. Through this approach, we will bolster our efforts to deprive criminal enterprises, including those operating along the Southwest border, of their infrastructure and profits.
∑ Improve partnerships with border communities and law enforcement. The Presidentís proposal expands our ability to work with our cross-border law enforcement partners. Community trust and cooperation are keys to effective law enforcement. To this end, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will establish border community liaisons along the Southern and Northern borders to improve communication and collaboration with border communities, boost funding to tribal government partners to reduce illegal activity on tribal lands, and strengthen training on civil rights and civil liberties for DHS immigration officers.
∑ Crack down on criminal networks engaging in passport and visa fraud and human smuggling. The Presidentís proposal creates tough criminal penalties for trafficking in passports and immigration documents and schemes to defraud, including those who prey on vulnerable immigrants through notario fraud. It also strengthens penalties to combat human smuggling rings.
Deporting Criminals. The Presidentís proposal expands
smart enforcement efforts that target convicted criminals in
federal or state correctional facilities, allowing us to
remove them from the
∑ Streamline removal of nonimmigrant national security and public safety threats. The Presidentís proposal creates a streamlined administrative removal process for people who overstay their visas and have been determined to be threats to national security and public safety.
∑ Improve our nationís immigration courts. The Presidentís proposal invests in our immigration courts. By increasing the number of immigration judges and their staff, investing in training for court personnel, and improving access to legal information for immigrants, these reforms will improve court efficiency. It allows DHS to better focus its detention resources on public safety and national security threats by expanding alternatives to detention and reducing overall detention costs. It also provides greater protections for those least able to represent themselves.
Cracking Down on Employers Who Hire Undocumented Workers
Mandatory, phased-in electronic employment verification.
The Presidentís proposal provides tools for employers to
ensure a legal workforce by using federal government
databases to verify that the people they hire are eligible
to work in the
Combat fraud and identity theft. The proposal
also mandates a fraud‐resistant, tamper‐resistant Social
Security card and requires workers to use fraud‐and
tamper‐resistant documents to prove authorization to work in
∑ Protections for all workers. The Presidentís proposal protects workers against retaliation for exercising their labor rights. It increases the penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers to skirt the workplace standards that protect all workers. And it creates a ďlabor law enforcement fundĒ to help ensure that industries that employ significant numbers of immigrant workers comply with labor laws.
Pathway to Earned Citizenship
Create a provisional legal status. Undocumented
immigrants must come forward and register, submit biometric
data, pass criminal background and national security checks,
and pay fees and penalties before they will be eligible for
a provisional legal status. Agricultural workers and
those who entered the
Create strict requirements to qualify for lawful
permanent resident status. Those applying for
green cards must pay their taxes, pass additional criminal
background and national security checks, register for
Selective Service (where applicable), pay additional fees
and penalties, and learn English and
∑ Earned citizenship for DREAMers. Children brought here illegally through no fault of their own by their parents will be eligible for earned citizenship. By going to college or serving honorably in the Armed Forces for at least two years, these children should be given an expedited opportunity to earn their citizenship. The Presidentís proposal brings these undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.
∑ Create administrative and judicial review. An individual whose provisional lawful status has been revoked or denied, or whose application for adjustment has been denied, will have the opportunity to seek administrative and judicial review of those decisions.
Provide new resources to combat fraud. The Presidentís proposal authorizes funding to enable DHS, the Department of State, and other relevant federal agencies to establish fraud prevention programs that will provide training for adjudicators, allow regular audits of applications to identify patterns of fraud and abuse, and incorporate other proven fraud prevention measures.
Streamlining Legal Immigration
Keep Families Together. The proposal seeks to
eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored
immigration system by recapturing unused visas and
temporarily increasing annual visa numbers. The
proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7
percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration
system. It also treats same-sex families as
families by giving
∑ Cut Red Tape for Employers. The proposal also eliminates the backlog for employment-sponsored immigration by eliminating annual country caps and adding additional visas to the system. Outdated legal immigration programs are reformed to meet current and future demands by exempting certain categories from annual visa limitations.
Enhance travel and tourism. The Administration
is committed to increasing
ďStapleĒ green cards to advanced STEM diplomas.
The proposal encourages foreign graduate students educated
Create a ďstartup visaĒ for job-creating entrepreneurs. The proposal allows foreign entrepreneurs who attract financing from U.S. investors or revenue from U.S. customers to start and grow their businesses in the United States, and to remain permanently if their companies grow further, create jobs for American workers, and strengthen our economy.
Expand opportunities for investor visas and
Create a new visa category for employees of federal
national security science and technology laboratories.
The proposal creates a new visa category for a limited
number of highly-skilled and specialized immigrants to work
in federal science and technology laboratories on critical
national security needs after being in the
∑ Better addresses humanitarian concerns. The proposal streamlines immigration law to better protect vulnerable immigrants, including those who are victims of crime and domestic violence. It also better protects those fleeing persecution by eliminating the existing limitations that prevent qualified individuals from applying for asylum.
Encourage integration. The proposal promotes earned citizenship and efforts to integrate immigrants into their new American communities linguistically, civically, and economically.
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