With a re-election campaign looming, President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to overhaul the immigration system, but lawmakers seems to have little appetite to take on the issue.
In recent speeches at the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas, and the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Obama said his administration has followed through on demands to secure the border, and now it’s time for Congress to put revamping immigration back on the agenda and make something happen.
“Comprehensive immigration reform is not only an economic imperative or a security imperative, it is also a moral imperative,” Obama told the prayer breakfast.
But Republicans say any effort to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country or any effort that doesn’t address the inadequacies they see in border security is doomed to fail.
Although legislation has yet to be introduced, many lawmakers agree the most likely first step toward immigration legislation is a requirement that all businesses use E-Verify. The E-Verify program lets businesses know whether employees have the necessary papers to work in the U.S. Such legislation could give Democrats political cover by addressing immigration requirements that preclude tough crackdowns on immigrants, and give Republicans an opportunity to say they provided a new enforcement tool to stop illegal immigration.
The president’s recent push, which started in April with a White House meeting on immigration issues and other events involving Latino celebrities, prompted Senate Democrats this month to reintroduce the DREAM Act. The bill would give a path to legal status for law-abiding young people who were brought into the United States without documents as children and who either plan to attend college or join the military.