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Obama To Praise And Parse Senators’ Immigration Plan As He Lays Out His Own

Audio

Aired 1/29/13

Audio

Aired 1/29/13

Audio

Aired 1/29/13

Audio

Aired 1/29/13

While it's expected that many of his proposals will mirror those put forward Monday by a bipartisan group of senators, there are also signs that when President Obama lays out his latest thoughts on how to overhaul the nation's immigration laws he will have some "more liberal" ideas.

"People with knowledge of the proposals" tell The Washington Post that among the differences between the senators' plan and what Obama will talk about Tuesday afternoon in Las Vegas is that the president prefers "a quicker path to citizenship for illegal immigrants" than the lawmakers have outlined.

Still, NPR's Mara Liasson and other journalists who cover the White House report that for the most part the president is likely to praise the plan drafted by the senators -- who include Republican John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Charles Schumer of New York. The New York Times writes that Obama "is expected to embrace" the proposal even though he "differs with the group on some key issues, notably whether to make a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants conditional on further tightening the nation's borders."

The Post says, though, that Obama's comments will also start to define differences he has with the lawmakers' approach. He is:

"Likely to emphasize differences that could foreshadow roadblocks to passage in Congress at a time when both parties say there is momentum for a comprehensive deal.

"For example, the Senate proposal would let illegal immigrants obtain legal residency quickly. But it would not allow them to seek full citizenship until border security had been improved and a new system was in place for employers to verify the employment status of workers.

"Obama will not endorse such a proposal, the administration official said. The president intends to make clear the need for a more straightforward route for un-documented workers and students to obtain citizenship."

Politico likens what's about to begin to an "immigration dance" with Obama and his fellow Democrats on one side, McCain and other Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida on the other.

On Morning Edition, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona (a member of the bipartisan group), said there's a moral component to overhauling immigration laws -- particularly for "children who are brought here through no fault of their own" and in effect have been "born without a country."

The president is due to speak around 3 p.m. ET. We'll watch for news from that address.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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