Obama: Congress must act on immigration right away
President Obama said that if Congress fails to act on immigration reform, he will send up his own version of a bill and "insist that they vote on it right away."
Speaking in Las Vegas, Obama said that it is "very encouraging" that a bipartisan group of senators put forward a framework for immigration reform, and that it shows a "desire to get this done." But, he added, "action must follow. We can't allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate."
He continued that his main proposals have, in the past, been backed by both John F. Kennedy and George W. Bush, showing that "the foundation for bipartisan action is already in place." But, if Congress doesn't act, "I will send up a bill based on my proposal, and insist that they vote on it right away," Obama said.
The president outlined three major components of his legislation, including a focus on enforcement and border security, dealing with the 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country, and modernizing the legal immigration system.
"For comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship," Obama said, saying that the pathway will include passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then "going to the back of the line behind all the folks that are here legally."