Obama presses House to pass immigration bill before August recess

President Obama on Saturday urged the GOP-led House to act this summer on immigration reform following Senate passage of a sweeping measure two days ago, declaring, “now is the time.”

“I do urge the House to try and get this done before the August recess. There is more than enough time,” Obama said in South Africa, his latest stop on a week-long trip through Africa.

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“This thing has been debated amply, and they have got a bunch of weeks to get it done. Now is the time,” Obama added during a joint press conference with President Jacob Zuma.

The Senate, with 14 Republicans joining Democrats, voted 68-32 on Thursday for a major overhaul of the nation’s immigration system that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents and tougher border enforcement measures.

But the effort faces big hurdles in the GOP-controlled House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) says he will not move a bill that does not have backing from a majority of that chamber’s Republicans.

Conservative lawmakers oppose a pathway to citizenship as amnesty and want tougher border security.

Obama said “the ball is in the House’s court.”

“I have called both Speaker Boehner and [Democratic] Leader Pelosi and encouraged them to find a path to get this done, and the framework that the Senate has set up is a sound framework,” Obama said.

He said the Senate measure is not a “perfect bill,” but that it’s “consistent” with his principles on border security, reforming the existing immigration system, and creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.