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President Obama pushes for comprehensive immigration reform

Undocumented immigrants throughout the United States have their eyes on lawmakers as they try to agree on much-needed immigration reform. Since President Obama's electoral victory, which garnered 71 percent of the nation's Latino vote, Democrats and Republicans alike have been searching for a way to reform immigration policy.

But the parties don't agree on how to make changes. The New York Times reports that the White House is pushing Congress to accept a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws. The Obama administration says its comprehensive bill needs to be passed quickly in order to give the majority of the 11 million undocumented immigrants an easier path to citizenship.

But Republicans want a different approach. They want a series of bills, rather than comprehensive legislation. One bill would address highly skilled workers; another would address young immigrants; and another would address migrant farm workers. Apparently, breaking the legislation into pieces would be more readily accepted by members of the Republican party who are reluctant about making the path to citizenship easier.

Some people in the country have complained that immigration reform would constitute amnesty for so-called "illegal immigrants," but the White House disagrees. President Obama's proposal isn't simply amnesty.

In fact, the plan would require some undocumented immigrants to pay back taxes and fines, as well as address other legal issues in order to achieve legal status. The president's proposal would also initiate a guest-worker program for immigrants with low incomes; create new visas to eliminate the backlog of applications; and let immigrants with certain in-demand skills remain in the country.

Regardless of the particular plan of action adopted by legislators, undocumented immigrants throughout the country will need to remain aware of their legal options for achieving a change of immigration status.

Source: The New York Times, "Obama Will Seek Citizenship Path in One Fast Push," Julia Preston, Jan. 12, 2013

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