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President Obama Renews Push For Immigration Reform

Evening Edition

Aired 1/29/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Guests:

Lilia Velasquez, Immigration Attorney

Michael Rosen, Republican Activist in San Diego

Transcript

In his fifth State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama urged Congress to get immigration reform done this year.

Obama's full comments on immigration:

"Finally, if we're serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement - and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. And I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent, contribute to our culture - they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let's get immigration reform done this year. Let's get it done. It's time."

The immigration debate seems to be gaining momentum.

Bipartisan legislation has passed the Senate last year that enhances border security and provides a path to citizenship for about 11 immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

The House prefers a piecemeal approach. House Republicans are meeting this week and are expected to outline their principles for an immigration overhaul.

Among the proposals under consideration by House Republican leaders is one that would give legal status to immigrants in the U.S. illegally but not citizenship.

The White House has said Obama wants the legislation to lead to citizenship. But Obama did not make that demand Tuesday night.

With many Republicans staunchly opposed to Obama's plan for creating a pathway to citizenship, some remain skeptical.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who's a major player on immigration policy says there's no chance now of passing a broad overhaul.

Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address

Above: President Barack Obama delivers his fifth State of the Union address.

Comments

Avatar for user 'SettlersSon'

SettlersSon | January 29, 2014 at 12:24 p.m. ― 8 months ago

Typical entitled comment from your Hispanic guest "[illegals] can [get amnesty] or they can just continue to live in the shadows for the next 20 years..." She forgot the two other options: 1) they can go home and get in line like honorable people do, or 2) they can go home and work to make their own country a decent place to live, so they don't have to slither across the border and take labor jobs away from our youth and under-skilled. Typical liberal propaganda; say it enough times, and people will start believing that her options are the only ones, and that they're legitimate and honorable....which they're NOT!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | January 29, 2014 at 1:18 p.m. ― 8 months ago

Yes, let's get immigration reform done!

Streamline the guest worker program to ensure corporations can reliably get the temporary workers they need and enhance labor laws to protect those workers.

But illegal aliens living in the US have nothing to do with immigration reform. Hijacking reform bills to hand out citizenship to those criminals is immoral and dishonest and only hinders the reform process.

( | suggest removal )