President Obama Renews Push For Immigration Reform
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Aired 1/29/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Lilia Velasquez, Immigration Attorney
Michael Rosen, Republican Activist in San Diego
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.