President Obama Addresses the Nation on Immigration Reform


ObamaIn a recent speech, President Barack Obama discussed a number of immigration reforms his office plans to encourage or implement in the coming months. These changes may affect thousands of individuals seeking U.S. citizenship and will certainly keep experienced Austin, Texas immigration attorneys busy for the foreseeable future.

During the speech, the President discussed a number of planned steps to change immigration laws and procedures.  He noted that, until Congress passes a bill, the White House will take steps to act on immigration by implementing the following reforms:

  • Increasing resources for border patrol,
  • Streamlining legal paths to immigration and citizenship to shorten the process and make it simpler,
  • Creating ways that certain undocumented individuals may “earn” citizenship through education, entrepreneurship, work, or military service,
  • Strengthening laws and penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers in order to skirt wage, hour, and other employment requirements.

While the President’s speech did not provide details about these programs, the White House has filled in many of the gaps with information about planned changes to the nation’s current immigration laws.  For instance, the White House Web site has announced plans to speed up family-sponsored visas, so that families can be reunited in the U.S. more quickly.

Other plans include creating a “startup visa” for entrepreneurs who create jobs and streamlining the process for obtaining a green card for graduates who have graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.  Those who work in federal national security science and technology laboratories may also see a new visa category that applies specifically to their work.

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