Obama hints at US easing stance on immigration

US President Barack Obama and some other top Republican leaders are showing their willingness to loosen their firm stance on immigration legislation as efforts are being taken on their part to open the door for compromise with many in Congress facing elections later this year.

An interview of the President aired on Friday showed Obama speaking out that he may soon drop his stand that any such legislation include a special pathway to acquire citizenship for the 11 million people living already in the US illegally. Earlier in the day, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. John Boehner and other Republican leaders released a new set of immigration principles that would allow millions of adults living in the country illegally and unlawfully to get legal status after paying back due unpaid taxes and fines.

After Obama’s failed attempts to pass gun control laws in the undivided Congress last year,  his best hope for a big second-term legislative victory is obviously immigration. With congressional elections approaching in November this year, it is being seen by many Republicans  as a scope to woo Hispanic voters who had largely supported Obama and thus, the Democrats in 2012. But still, negotiations are on in a tense phase. The Republican leadership is facing strong opposition from several conservatives suspicious of Obama’s agenda and it is being feared by them that such type of legislation will lead to citizenship for people who broke, has broken and is breaking US immigration laws.

In spite of all such speculations, Obama has repeatedly voiced his preference for a solid route to obtaining and gaining citizenship in the US. But the President didn’t forget to mention that he would have to do thorough evaluation of the different implications of a process to allow such people get legal status and thus then have the option open to become citizens of the United States of America.

However, last Thursday saw the release of The House principles which say that there will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws. But still, it wouldn’t stop millions from trying to obtain permanent legal residence in the country, often known as a green card, being sponsored by an adult child or an employer.

While strong majorities of Hispanics continue to back a pathway to citizenship, a Pew Research Center poll in December found that being able to live and work in the US legally without the threat of deportation was more important to Latinos, by 55 per cent to 35 per cent.

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