President Obama today praised the bipartisan push for immigration reform in the Senate but made clear he would submit his own bill to Congress if it stalls, reports the Washington Post. Still, his speech in Vegas today was upbeat:
- "The differences are dwindling ... a broad consensus is emerging," he said, reports AP. "The time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform."
- The Senate plan, he added, is "very much in line with the principles I've proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. At this point, it looks like there's a genuine desire to get this done soon."
- "Now's the time," he said over and over.
Obama's plan, like the one unveiled yesterday by senators, creates a path to citizenship for the nation's approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. They would register and get a "provisional" status after paying fees and passing a background check. After that, they could apply for full citizenship, but they'd have to get in line behind immigrants already in the system. Unlike the senators, the president doesn't want to make the process dependent on tougher border controls, notes the New York Times. As expected, Obama also called for benefits to be extended to same-sex couples if one member of the couple is an American.