By: David Jackson on 4/16/2014
A year after the Democratic-run Senate approved a comprehensive immigration bill, President Obama on Wednesday urged the Republican-run House to follow suit.
An overhaul of the immigration system "would boost our economy, strengthen our security, and live up to our most closely-held values as a society," Obama said in a written statement.
Obama noted that the Senate bill had some bipartisan support, and its "commonsense agreement would grow the economy by $1.4 trillion and shrink the deficit by nearly $850 billion over the next two decades."
The bill also provides "a tough but fair pathway to earned citizenship to bring 11 million undocumented individuals out of the shadows, modernizing our legal immigration system, continuing to strengthen border security, and holding employers accountable," Obama said.
The proposed pathway to citizenship for immigrants already in the United States illegally is a major sticking point in the House. Many Republicans describe the plan as amnesty for lawbreakers.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has called for a gradual "step-by-step" approach to immigration changes. He and other Republicans have also raised credibility issues, questioning whether the Obama administration would enforce new security measures on the border.
"Unfortunately, by regularly ignoring and manipulating laws like Obamacare, President Obama has created an environment in which too many question whether he can be trusted to follow whatever law is passed," said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck. "Getting anything done will be difficult until the president changes his approach."
In his statement, Obama raised political implications of the immigration bill: "The majority of Americans are ahead of House Republicans on this crucial issue and there is broad support for reform, including among Democrats and Republicans, labor and business, and faith and law enforcement leaders."
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