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President Obama Unveils Immigration Reform Proposals

5:32 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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Las Vegas, NV -- President Barack Obama says "now is the time" to fix broken immigration laws. And he says Congress is showing "a genuine desire to get this done soon."

At a campaign-style event in Las Vegas, the president applauded a rare show of bipartisanship between the White House and Senate lawmakers on basic plans for putting millions of illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship and tightening security at the borders.

But mindful of previous immigrations efforts that have failed, Obama warned that the debate would become more difficult as it gets closer to a conclusion.

Both the White House and Senate proposals still lack key details. And potential roadblocks are already emerging, even before a Senate measure can be debated, approved and sent to the Republican-controlled House where opposition is likely to be stronger.

Former Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney won just 27 percent of the Latino vote. As the Latino population grows, Republicans realize they need to win their support.

That's one key reason why immigration reform has so much momentum right now.

The Senators' plan says we must secure our borders, create a way for employers to verify immigration status, and address the immigrants already living here illegally. At that point, people living here illegally would need to pass a background check, pay back taxes, learn English and civics and establish a work record.

After that, they'd be placed at the end of the line of people who went through the proper citizenship channels. The President's plan is very similar. However, the President's proposal doesn't require borders to be secure before granting citizenship to illegal immigrants. President Obama also wants a quicker path to citizenship. Finally, the President wants immigration benefits to be extended to same-sex couples where one person is an American.

Regardless of how the final bill looks, a local immigration attorney told WFMY News 2 our country simply cannot survive without illegal immigrants.

"The last time anyone has picked up a glass of milk in this country, in the past twenty years, it has never been milk that was handled purely by people that were documented. Every glass of milk that is consumed in this country is handled by undocumented workers," Greensboro immigration attorney Gerry Chapman said.

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