WASHINGTON: The President, Mr Barack Obama has pledged to fix America’s “broken” immigration system to ensure that the US will remain a magnet for the best and the brightest from countries like India.
In his first major policy speech on the thorny issue of immigration, Mr Obama revealed the broad contours of his vision of reform, which if implemented would be helpful to hundreds and thousands of people from countries like India, who are professionals and law abiding and add value to the American society.
“We should make it easier for the best and the brightest to come to start businesses and develop products and create jobs. Our laws should respect families following the rules, instead of splitting them apart,” he said on his third major domestic agenda after health care and financial reforms.
He said the presence of about 11 million illegal immigrants makes a mockery of all those who are going through the process of immigrating legally.
“Indeed, after years of patchwork fixes and ill-conceived revisions, the legal immigration system is as broken as the borders. Backlogs and bureaucracy means the process can take years,” he observed.
He said the steady stream of talented people has made America the engine of the global economy and a beacon of hope around the world.
“It has allowed us to adapt and thrive in the face of technological and societal change. To this day, America reaps incredible economic rewards because we remain a magnet for the best and brightest from across the globe,” Mr Obama said.
He said the system should stop penalising innocent young people for the actions of their parents, by denying them the chance to stay and contribute to build the country.
He noted that immigration reform has been held hostage to political posturing and special interest wrangling and to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics. Mr Obama said besides addressing the issue of illegal immigrants, a reformed system also needs to address the need for talented people to stay and contribute to the country.
“While we provide students from around the world visas to get engineering and computer science degrees at our top universities, our laws discourage them from using those skills to start a business or power a new industry right here in the United States,” Mr Obama said.
“It is this constant flow of immigrants that helped to make America what it is: the scientific breakthroughs of Albert Einstein, the inventions of Nikola Tesla, the great ventures of Andrew Carnegie’s US Steel and Sergey Brin’s Google Link. All this was possible because of immigrants,” he argued.