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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 08: Latinos and immigrants participate in a rally on immigration reform in front of the White House on November 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. Immigrant rights organizations called on President Barack Obama to fulfill his promise of passing comprehensive immigration reform. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
When President Barack Obama announced his plan for immigration reform on Tuesday afternoon, many San Diegans celebrated the possibility of a clearer path to citizenship.
Obama outlined three clear goals for immigration reform, backing similar principles in the Senate’s bipartisan immigration proposal.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” he said. “Do we have a resolve as a people, as a country and government to put this issue behind us?”
Here are the three goals Obama made and what they mean for San Diego.
1. Stay focused on enforcement.
Obama said there needs to be a crackdown on businesses that hire illegal immigrants. As San Diego is a border town, there are some businesses that employ non-citizen workers. Stricter rules against hiring illegal immigrants could change the way San Diego companies do business.
2. Create a “pathway to citizenship.”
With more than 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally, Obama said he wants to give those residents the opportunity to gain citizenship. Obama mentioned the possibility for current illegal immigrants to pay a fine before getting in line behind legal applicants, while they continue to live in the U.S. This means some San Diego residents would be able to continue living in the area while working to obtain citizenship.
3. Improve the current legal immigration system.
Obama made it clear he wants to streamline the process for people to become citizens.
“You shouldn’t have to wait years before your family can join you in America,” he said.
San Diego residents who are already working toward becoming a U.S. citizen could see quicker, more efficient procedures to permanently bringing their families to America.
The House and Senate will still need to act on legislation based on these principals, but the president’s support of reform is crucial for its passage.