Commentary: Immigration should be high priority for Obama

This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.

President-elect Barack Obama's attention on the nation's economic problems and the war in Iraq should not divert him from getting a comprehensive immigration reform package through Congress and signed into law during his first year in office.

The system is broken, and delaying a solution will only make the divisive issue that much more difficult to fix.

Obama must be a leader on immigration reform, especially pushing his party on the issue in the Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

President George W. Bush backed a reasonable immigration reform plan, but it was killed in the U.S. Senate in 2007 by members of his own party, as well as Democrats. Obama must use his political capital early to build on Bush's work on immigration reform.

We believe a comprehensive plan must have three main elements: strong border security to limit the problem; a fair guest-worker program that provides industries a reliable labor pool; and an opportunity for those already here to earn legal residency if they meet strict requirements, including paying fines and showing they have had a responsible work history.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.