Obama urges House to pass immigration reform by August

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President Barack Obama urged the House of Representatives to follow the lead of the Senate and pass a bill by August to reform the U.S. immigration system.

Speaking during a press conference in South Africa, Obama said there was more than enough time for lawmakers to finish work on the issue before their summer recess.

Immigration reform is one of the president's top domestic issues. The Senate recently passed a bill that would strengthen U.S. border security and provide a way for undocumented immigrants in the United States to obtain citizenship. Obama welcomed the passage of that bill.

Despite strong bipartisan support for the Senate bill, the leader of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, John Boehner, said the measure was dead on arrival in his chamber. Boehner said House Republicans would write their own bill.

Many House Republicans oppose citizenship for immigrants who are in the United States illegally, arguing law-breakers should not be rewarded. Any House Republican bill is expected to focus heavily on border security and on finding immigrants who have outstayed their visas.

But watering down the measure further may not be acceptable to Obama, who repeated on Saturday that he sees the Senate bill as far from perfect.

Even though congressional Republicans have been reluctant to cooperate with Obama, many see immigration reform as a political necessity to improve their standing with Hispanic voters, who overwhelming supported Obama in November's election.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Ed Stoddard)



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PJ    
Iowa  |  July, 02, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Finally I agree with Pres. Obama. We both think the Senate bill is far from perfect. I think it is too long by 1,200 pages and lots of pork. Lets have a few smaller bills. The first would be a one pager, the border will be secure before any path to citizenship is considered. And not 90 percent but 100. Second bill that those here illegally by over staying visas will be deported along with all illegals that violate our laws. Third a guest worker program will be implemented with a pathway to citizenship. Non-citizens serving or honorably discharged from the military will be eligible for citizenship. Finally a blll defining a subsequent path to citizenship.

Ivan    
Chicago  |  July, 03, 2013 at 11:13 AM

I guess its good that no one asks you how this should be resolved so no damage made on your side.

Patrick    
Wisconsin  |  July, 02, 2013 at 11:43 PM

Border security has already been approved by Congress. Problem is that there's no money to build it, and there still isn't. There was a chance to enact immigration reform a couple of years ago but the word amnesty showed up. That word may be missing in the current bill, (which was never read by any of the Senators who voted for it) but it is implied. But now there is a new element to concider, Obamacare. Wouldn't it be nice to be treated like any other law abiding citizen even if the first thing you ever did in this country was break our laws? If that's to be totally forgiven without any concequence, then our laws are meaningless. This mysterious legislation is of course being prasied by Obama. And why not? He's counting on these immigrants to vote more liberals into office. This is pure politics,... nothing less.


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