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January 29, 2013

OBAMA LAYS OUT HIS PLAN TO OVERHAUL IMMIGRATION.....



  • We have live coverage here and you can watch the president speak here
  • President Obama's comments follow announcement from bipartisan senators on their immigration plan
  • We'll listen and help explain the differences the president has with the bipartisan Senate group
[Updated at 2:55 p.m.] Cheers and applause greeted Obama's review of what he has already done, especially when he talked of the "Dreamers" - children brought to this country by their parents and who have done nothing wrong. He's speaking at Del Sol High School, which has a 54% Hispanic student body, according to U.S. News and World Report rankings.
[Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET] This isn’t just about illegal immigrants, Obama tells the room and the broader audience, but also about those who come to the U.S. to attend top universities to earn degrees in engineering and computer science, but after that, “there’s a good chance they’ll have to leave our country.”
Obama cited Intel and Instagram as examples of successful firms started by immigrants, and he said he wonders why we would tell today's immigrants graduating from American universities to go start their businesses abroad.
[Updated at 2:48 p.m. ET] Obama has the demeanor of a popular principal addressing a gathering of students. He's getting a good reception from the friendly audience.
[Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET] Obama praises the positive impact of immigrants, highlighting Google, Yahoo and other high-tech startups. He says one in four is started by immigrants.
It’s time to address “a system that’s holding us back rather than helping us grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.”
[Updated at 2:43 p.m.] "The differences are dwindling," the president says, calling immigration one of the “defining challenges of our time.”
"I am here today because the time has come for commonsense comprehensive immigration reform."
"Now is the time," he says, prompting shouts of "Si, se puede" – Spanish for "yes we can."
[Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET] The president has just taken the stage. In the audience, Obama tells us, are Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
[Posted at 1:45 p.m. ET] We still have some time before the president will speak but we're already beginning to get an idea of how the issue may be framed by the politicians.
Sen. Marco Rubio, who is one of the senators who revealed a bipartisan plan yesterday, spoke on the Senate floor about his concerns about the president's plans:
"In a few hours the president will give a speech in Nevada. And early press accounts concern me. I don’t want to turn this into a partisan thing so let me just say this – if this endeavor becomes a bidding war to see who can come up with the easiest, quickest and cheapest pathway to green card possible this thing is not going to go well folks. We now have a very common sense and reasonable set of principles and I hope what the president will say today is that he hopes that that process succeeds. But if his intentions are to trigger a bidding war to see who can come up with the easiest process, this is not a good start. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt."
It may not be related, but we've just gotten the first excerpt from the White House about what the president will say:
"We need Congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in this country right now. The good news is that – for the first time in many years – Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. Members of both parties, in both chambers, are actively working on a solution. And yesterday, a bi-partisan group of Senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I’ve proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. At this moment, it looks like there’s a genuine desire to get this done soon. And that’s very encouraging."
Our colleagues with the Political Ticker break down what you can expect to hear from Obama today.
[Posted at 1:42 p.m. ET] President Obama is to speak in Las Vegas, Nevada, at 2:55 p.m. ET where he will lay the groundwork for his immigration overhaul - something he has spoken about passionately before being elected as well as during his presidency, but has never followed through on.
The president, who won a second term in part because of the support from Latino voters, is expected to lay out his vision and insist that now is the time to act when it comes to reform.
Obama's comments will come a day after a key group of bipartisan senators announced their own plan for immigration.
Republicans including Sen. John McCain, Sen. Marco Rubio, who is a rising star in the party and an expected 2016 presidential candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Jeff Flake worked on the plan with Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet.
The four "pillars" of the Senate plan are:
  • A "tough but fair" path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the United States, but only after bolstering the nation's border security
  • Overhauling the country's legal immigration system, including attaching green cards to advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math from U.S. universities
  • Establishing an employment verification system that holds employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers

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