Obama: Immigration bill should be done this year

9:49 PM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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By David Jackson
USA TODAY

President Obama said Wednesday he hopes to sign an immigration bill by the end of the year.

An overhaul of the system is "something we should be able to get done certainly this year," Obama said. "I'd like to see if we could get it done sooner, in the first half of the year if possible."

Obama made the forecast during interviews with a pair of Spanish language television networks, Univision and Telemundo.

"It's a matter of Republicans and Democrats coming together and finding a meeting of the minds," Obama said on Telemundo.

Exit polls indicated that Obama won 71% of the Hispanic vote in November, and Hispanics are the fastest growing population group in the United States.

Obama has said that the poor showing among Hispanics should make enough Republicans more amenable to an immigration bill. Latino turnout "made a difference" in 2012, Obama told Telemundo, and because of that turnout, "I think we have a better chance now (for immigration overhaul) than we've had at any time since I've been president."

The interviews came a day after Obama made his immigration plan the centerpiece of a speech in Las Vegas and two days after a bipartisan group of senators proposed an immigration framework that included a path to citizenship to some 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. A bipartisan group of House members is also working on a plan that leads to legal immigration status.

Some Republicans, including many in the GOP-run House, oppose any measures, describing it as amnesty for law breakers.

In addition to a pathway to citizenship, Obama said his plan would improve security on the border itself, crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, and streamline the immigration process for students, family members and highly skilled workers.

USA Today

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