U.S. President Barack Obama is telling Congress that "now is the time"
to overhaul the nation's immigration system.
The U.S. leader said at the White House Tuesday that he supports a
compromise legislative proposal that would strengthen security along the
country's southern border with Mexico and offer 11 million undocumented
foreign nationals now in the U.S. a chance at citizenship over a 13-year
As the Senate headed toward the first votes on the measure later in the
day, Obama said neither he nor lawmakers would get all the immigration
provisions they wanted. But he said it was "the best chance in years" to
achieve "commonsense reform," and that Congress should approve it.
"If you genuinely believe we need to fix our broken immigration system,
there's no good reason to stand in the way of this bill," the president
Obama was joined by a cross-section of leaders from the business, labor
and religious communities who are supporting the overhaul.
group of eight Democratic and Republican senators have agreed on a bill
that includes creating the path to citizenship for the undocumented
foreign nationals in the United States. One of the senators, New York
Democrat Charles Schumer, said he is confident the Senate bill will pass
by July 4th, the U.S. Independence Day holiday.
The House of Representatives leader, Speaker John Boehner, a Republican,
told ABC television he thinks his chamber will also approve immigration
legislation. But he said the measure is likely to mandate more
restrictive security along the U.S. border with Mexico than that
proposed in the Senate bill.
Even so, Boehner said he thinks Congress will complete the immigration
overhaul this year.