President Barack Obama made an economic and moral case on Tuesday for the need for comprehensive immigration reform, vowing he would send legislation to Congress and insist on a vote if bipartisan efforts there fail.
“I’m here today because the time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform,” he said in a Las Vegas speech laying out his ideas for a bill, surrounded by a crowd of advocates for reform and immigrants who might benefit from it. “The time is now.”
A group of eight senators — four Democrats, four Republicans — released a framework on Monday of their plans for immigration reform. There are many details to be decided, but they broadly agreed on the need for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, an easier legal immigration system, better enforcement and more border security. Members of the House of Representatives are also working on a bipartisan immigration plan, albeit more quietly than in the Senate.
Obama said he is encouraged by that movement, and hopes to build on it. “The good news is that, for first time in many years, Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together,” he said.
“I believe we are finally at a moment where comprehensive immigration reform is within our grasp,” he added later.