President Immigration Speech Highlights Key Principles at the Heart of Immigration Reform

American Immigration Lawyers Association


Tuesday, January 29, 2013
George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
202-507-7649   |   202-507-7675 -

Washington, DC - Today, President Obama called for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform, saying unequivocally that now is the time for action. He noted that most Americans agree that it is time to "fix the system that has been broken for way too long" and that immigration reform will strengthen our economy and our nation's future.

AILA applauds the President's commitment to key principles at the heart of meaningful immigration reform, starting with an earned path to legal status that eventually could be converted to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented in our communities, and including:

  • Eliminating the extremely long wait times for families to be reunited with loved ones with temporary and permanent reforms to the family-based immigration system.
  • Treating same-sex families just like other families.
  • Eliminating long wait times for employers and prospective employees by reducing backlogs and adding visas.
  • Granting green cards to graduates in science, technology, engineering and math fields, creating a "startup visa" for job-creating entrepreneurs, and expanding opportunities for investors contributing to U.S. economic development.
  • Expediting an opportunity for DREAMers to earn their citizenship.
  • Investing in our immigration courts and providing greater protections for those least able to represent themselves.
  • Providing broader discretion to judges to help keep families together when they face hardship.
  • Imposing tough criminal penalties on notarios who prey on vulnerable immigrants.

"I was moved by the passion in the president's speech today. He reminded us that most of "us" were once "them." We are a nation of immigrants, that is our strength and our legacy," said Laura Lichter, President of AILA.

She continued, "The President called on Congress to move forward on immigration reform legislation and said that if Congress doesn't act, he'll move forward on his own bill for them to act on right away. AILA and its 12,000 members are ready to offer legal expertise, gained through working each and every day with immigrants from every country and every background as they seek to become Americans."


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 13012950.