President Barack Obama is laying out his plans for immigration reform with a speech Las Vegas Tuesday, making his first major push for one of the top legislative priorities of his second term.The plan was largely an affirmation of the bipartisan immigration reforms outlined Monday by a group of eight Senators. Although there were differences in the two proposals, Obama expressed support for the Congressional effort, and said he will not introduce his own legislation while their plan is still on the table.
“The good news is that – for the first time in many years – Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. Members of both parties, in both chambers, are actively working on a solution,” Obama said. “And yesterday, a bi-partisan group of Senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I’ve proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. At this moment, it looks like there’s a genuine desire to get this done soon. And that’s very encouraging.”
During his speech, Obama plan outlined four major areas for reform, including strengthening border security, cracking down on the hiring of undocumented workers, providing a pathway to citizenship, and streamlining the immigration system.
While these areas dovetail with those laid out in the Senate blueprint, Obama’s plan is significantly more liberal, particularly in regards to how it deals with the 11 million undocumented workers currently living in the U.S. While the Senators’ compromise would make citizenship contingent on specific improvements in border security, the President has called for an unconditional path to legal citizenship.
That disagreement could be a major sticking point for Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the members of the bipartisan group responsible for Monday’s plan.
So far, Republican House Speaker John Boehner has offered little indication of whether it will consider a comprehensive immigration reform package.
“There are a lot of ideas about how best to fix our broken immigration system,” Boehner spokesperson Brendan Buck said in response to Obama’s speech Tuesday. “Any solution should be a bipartisan one, and we hope the President is careful not to drag the debate to the left and ultimately disrupt the difficult work that is ahead in the House and Senate.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.