Obama: Congress can pass immigration bill by the end of summer

President Obama on Saturday argued that the immigration reform bill being considered in the Senate would improve the nation's immigration system.


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Obama made the comments in his weekly presidential address.

"The bill before the Senate isn’t perfect," Obama says in the recorded speech. "It’s a compromise. Nobody will get everything they want – not Democrats, not Republicans, not me. But it is a bill that’s largely consistent with the principles I’ve repeatedly laid out for commonsense immigration reform."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday filed a motion to end debate on The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of eight Democratic and Republican senators. A vote on proceeding to the bill is expected to happen on Tuesday.

Obama goes on to say in his weekly address that the bill would offer a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally provided they meet certain criteria, strengthen border security  and generally "modernize" the nation's immigration system.

"That’s what immigration reform looks like. Smarter enforcement. A pathway to earned citizenship," Obama said. "Improvements to the legal immigration system. They’re all commonsense steps. They’ve got broad support – from Republicans and Democrats, CEOs and labor leaders, law enforcement and clergy. So there is no reason that Congress can’t work together to send a bill to my desk by the end of the summer."

On Friday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who wants to pass immigration reform through a set of small bills rather than one big bill, said that the Senate had a "false choice" through considering the Border Security Act.

"This is not the bill to fix our immigration system," Lee said during a speech on the Senate floor. "We're being presented with a choice of the Gang of Eight bill or nothing….This is a false choice, there is another way."

Obama urged constituents to call legislators and tell them to back immigration reform.

"We know the opponents of reform are going to do everything they can to prevent that," Obama continued. "They’ll try to stoke fear and create division. They’ll try to play politics with an issue that the vast majority of Americans want addressed. And if they succeed, we will lose this chance to finally fix an immigration system that is badly broken.

"So if you agree that now is the time for commonsense reform, reach out to your representatives. Tell them we have to get this done so that everyone is playing by the same rules. Tell them we have the power to do this in a way that lives up to our traditions as a nation of laws, and a nation of immigrants."