(UPDATED COVERAGE, Jan. 30) Calling on Congress to fix what he called the nation’s broken immigration system, President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address found supporters among agricultural allies.
Citing economic studies, Obama said Jan. 28 that immigration reform will boost the U.S. economy and shrink the deficit by nearly $1 trillion in the next 20 years.
“So let’s get immigration reform done this year,” Obama said.
Obama did not push the immigration topic too strongly during his address, said Frank Gasperini, executive vice president for Vienna, Va.-based National Council of Agricultural Employers.
“There is some thought that he might have not gone quite as hard on immigration as some people thought he might so as not to make the Republican leadership feel so beat up about it,” he said.
House Republican leaders on Jan. 30 released an outline on their principles for the legislation.The document emphasizes a step-by-step approach to immigration reform, with border security as a first priority. House Republicans also call an opportunity for illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. and “get right with the law,” but with no special path to citizenship.