Adventures In Bipartisanship

President Obama marked the beginning of his second term by announcing that immigration reform is his top priority. Shockingly enough, the proposal has actually received bipartisan support in the Senate.

Earlier today, Barack Obama addressed a Las Vegas crowd, largely made up of immigrants, and provided them with hope. He optimistically announced that the Senate “gang of eight” has made serious progress in tackling the issues associated with our country’s problematic immigration system. The gang of eight, a group equally made up of Democratic and Republican Senators including John McCain (R-AZ) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), has developed a concrete outline to go about this reform by addressing border security, the legal system, and the road to fair citizenship for eleven million undocumented immigrants living in this country.

This is a big, bold, and positive move for the President as he begins his second term in the White House since it signifies many things. On the surface, this reform brings hope for the people living in this country who don’t hold the same right as full citizens. Strengthening border security is a part of the plan and understandably so, as the USA has vast regions of its border completely unguarded. The outline addresses holes in the legalities, making it easier for families to stick together as well as giving foreigners who could help build American commerce and economy a chance in this country. But most importantly, the outline puts a plan in place for the people who are already here. Illegal immigrants already living in the US would be granted temporary citizenship while background checks take place. If the person in question agrees to pay back taxes and learn English, then citizenship can eventually be granted. The system does not promise to move quickly, as these eleven million immigrants must get in line behind many others waiting for the golden tickets (or in this case, the green card.) However the new immigration system plans to be fair.

This concrete system is a large victory for all of the undocumented people waiting in the dark for basic US rights. But there is also a smaller improvement that must be acknowledged in this process; this plan is back by members of both the Democratic and Republican parties. While it is important to note that this outline was drafted and approved in the Senate and has yet to pass in Congress, the fact the two parties have managed to agree on a subject that has been bitterly debated in the past is a feat in itself. President Obama did make it a point to mention that if Congress does not generate a proper bill in a timely manner, then he will draft the bill himself and insist on an immediate vote.

The country is very happy to see that Democrats and Republicans can finally work together on a proposal as important as immigration reform. However, as American, Bipartisan support isn’t something we should be impressed with when it rarely occurs. Bipartisanship is something that should always be encouraged. Although the two parties obviously have different ideologies and opinions on given issues, they should be able to work together without bitter arguments and threats. It is wonderful to see this democracy and fairness in action but it’s a shame that it took an entire presidential term for politicians to throw away the pettiness and consider what is best for this country and its people. I hope to see more Bipartisan generated ideas like this during the rest of President Obama’s second term. Hopefully, this is a sign of progress.   

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