Immigration reform could be worth trillions to US economy

US President Barack Obama has used his weekly address to the nation to once again appeal for the Republican controlled House of Representatives to pass the immigration reform bill that has already made its way through the Senate.

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Speaking on his weekly Internet and radio address, the President said that an overhaul of the immigration system would add an estimated US$1.4 trillion to the US economy over the next 20 years. “Immigration reform would make it easier for highly-skilled immigrants and those who study at our colleges and universities to start businesses and create jobs right here in America,” he said.

“Foreign companies would be more likely to invest here. The demand for goods and services would go up – creating more jobs for American workers.”

But it is the issue of awarding a path to citizenship to the country’s approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants that some Republicans have a problem with, and this is the major reason why there are real fears the bill may not be passed by the House.

However, earlier this week the legislation did gain some unlikely Republican support from former President George W Bush. Speaking at a citizenship ceremony in Texas, he said: “The laws governing the immigration system aren’t working. The system is broken. We are now in an important debate on reforming those laws, and that’s good.”

In his Internet address, Obama stated that the legislation needs to be passed sooner rather than later, stating the House of Representatives must act now on the immigration bill. “Now the House needs to act so I can sign commonsense immigration reform into law. And if you agree, tell your Representatives that now is the time. Call or email or post on their Facebook walls and ask them to get this done. Because together, we can grow our economy and keep America strong for years to come.”

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