WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
Speaking in the East Room of the White House Thursday, Obama says he wants immigration reform passed this year.
“This is the moment we should finally be able to get the job done,” Obama said.
Obama feels Washington is close to getting a deal done as both Republicans and Democrats want to fix the immigration system.
“It’s good for our economy, it’s good for our national security, it’s good for our people and we should do it this year,” Obama said.
Obama wants the bill passed in an effort to help build businesses in the U.S. and to help get current illegal immigrants out of the shadows.
“It’s not smart to invite some of the brightest minds to study here and then not start businesses here,” Obama stated, citing a report that showed that immigration reform would grow the economy by $1.4 trillion and shrink the deficit by more than $1 trillion.
“What we can’t do is just sweep the problem under the rug one more time,” Obama said. “Rather than create problems, let’s prove to the American people that Washington can solve some problems.”
Obama even invoked President George W. Bush’s name, saying his Republican predecessor was for immigration reform.
“We have kicked this particular can down the road for too long,” Obama said, calling passing immigration reform “the right thing to do.”
House Speaker John Boehner says he’s optimistic the House could act on immigration by year’s end. But it’s not certain that Republicans will support the comprehensive approach that Obama is seeking.
The Senate passed a wide-ranging bill in June with bipartisan support, but the measure stalled in the House. Most House Republicans want a piece-by-piece approach.
There are an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
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