By Félix Pérez
Sensible, fair and comprehensive immigration reform for millions of students and their families appears to be closer to reality than at any time in recent history. President Barack Obama added to the growing momentum in Congress yesterday when he addressed the issue before hundreds of students, educators, parents, business owners, and community and elected officials gathered at El Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nevada.
President Obama’s remarks came on the heels of a legislative blueprint released Monday by a bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators — four Republicans and four Democrats — that would overhaul the nation’s immigration system, including carving out a faster path to citizenship for students and young immigrants who came here as children and reforming the family reunification process. Both Obama and the “Gang of Eight” agree that a reformed pathway to citizenship must be coupled with stronger enforcement.
Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, pledged the NEA’s support in working with President Obama. “As educators, we have witnessed for far too long the impact that the current immigration system has had on our students, their families, and our communities. We join the growing chorus of voices calling on lawmakers to create a common-sense immigration process for aspiring Americans, one that includes a roadmap for new Americans to become citizens,” Van Roekel said.