It has been quite sometime since the whole world showed this much curiosity about how one person will chart the course of history. US President-Elect Barrack Obama is in the eye of the storm, his every move being watched and measured by everyone. With the US economic crisis the most prominent issue, there has been speculations as to when and how President Obama will address America’s immigration woes, which incidentally will take on huge proportions if the recession progresses. Pushing for increasing visa numbers when local candidates are losing jobs is going to be harder then before. However, he seems to be making positive impression on the immigration lobby with his entourage of advisers and appointments in this issue.
At present, his nomination of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano as the new DHS Secretary has been well received by the immigration lobby as she is known to be in favor of expanding the H-1B program. Napolitano was one of the signatories of a bipartisan letter sent to President Bush last year supporting the expansion of the H-1B program. She also opposed the suggestion of building of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border, getting her the support of many immigrant voters who feel a more reasonable solution is necessary then simply “deporting” a million immigrants.
Apart from the DHS appointee, Obama’s two top immigration advisors, Professors Tino Cuellar (Stanford Law School) and Alex Aleinikoff, (Dean Georgetown University Law Center), are also much favored by immigration legislators. Professor Cuellar, who had served in the Treasury Department during Clinton’s office, grew up in a Californian town in the border between the U.S. and Mexico, which many feels makes him more aware of the ground realties. Alexander Aleinikoff is a former official in the Immigration and Naturalization Service and will bring to the plate his rich experience as well.
However, this is a small move compared to what the expectations are. Obama received a large number of Hispanic and Asian-American votes this election and pro-immigration lobbyist feel that the new administration will have to show its appreciation by passing some of the stalled and pending Bills and Acts.