President Barack Obama called for reform to the immigration process in his State of the Union address.
25 January 2012
Obama calls for US immigration reform in speech to Congress
In his annual State of the Union address to the United States Congress, President Barack Obama called for a comprehensive reform of the US immigration process, urging Congress to allow people to 'earn their citizenship'.
US immigration has become an important issue in American politics in recent weeks and, with the race for the Republican Nomination well under way, President Obama has been keen to also address the issue but is aware that an election leaves politics on unsure ground.
"We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now" said Mr Obama. "But 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".
Mr Obama's remarks were made during the annual State of the Union during which the incumbent president addresses Congress to report on the country's condition and outline his legislative agenda for the coming year.
"Let's also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren't yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation."
Mr Obama was quick to reiterate the concern he voiced recently that the difficulty in obtaining a US visa often meant that students trained at America's top universities then left the country.
"Others came [to America] to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else. That doesn't make sense" said the president.
"Don't let other countries with the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet, to new American jobs and new American industries."
The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.