This weekend, many people throughout the nation celebrated Cinco de Mayo, including the president of the United States. In fact, the president took the opportunity to reach out to the Hispanic population and tell them that he is prepared to sign a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for immigrant students and young people.
The Dream Act, as it is called, would allow immigrants who are in the country illegally to gain citizenship through the perusal of higher education or service in the armed forces. The goal is to avoid deporting the many young people who have spent most of their lives in the United States and consider it to be their home.
The measure has been introduced in Congress for years but has consistently failed to gain approval. However, at the Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden last week, the president said that now is the time to pass this "common-sense" reform, as he called it. Right now, he said, the immigration system in the United States is "broken."
Of course, many speculate that the move also had political motives, as we are approaching a presidential election and the president is highly dependent on the votes of the Hispanic population. Last election, the president largely won the Latino vote, but since then it appears the community has become frustrated over failed immigration reform and high deportation numbers.
In closing the reception, the president praised both the country of Mexico and Mexican Americans, saying that the 50 million Americans of Latino descent are "driving America forward."
Source: Huffington Post, "Obama At Cinco de Mayo Party Pushes Dream Act, Immigration Reform," Christin Wilkie, May 3, 2012