Despite entrenched opposition in Congress to immigration reform, President Obama in the State of the Union speech asked both chambers to resurrect the Dream Act, a bill that would create a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants who are college students and military service members.
He also encouraged lawmakers to increase the number of visas for highly skilled immigrants, many of whom complete graduate degrees in the U.S. but are not authorized to work here. The U.S. currently awards about 140,000 highly skilled visas per year.
“If election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country,” said Obama.
Obama touted the fact that his administration has hired more Border Patrol agents and that the number of illegal crossings has declined since he took office.