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Obama backs House Dems' immigration push

President Obama threw his support behind an effort by House Democrats to force a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   March 26, 2014 at 5:45 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, March 26 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama cheered Democrats' efforts to force a vote in the House on an immigration bill over the objections of Speaker John Boehner.

In a statement released Wednesday, the president lent support to a discharge petition circulating in the House of Representatives to bring H.R.15, an immigration overhaul bill that has been languishing in the committee since last October.

"So far, Republicans in the House have refused to allow meaningful immigration reform legislation to even come up for a vote," Obama said. "That’s why, today, I applaud the efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves."

The effort, led by Democratic Caucus Chair Xavier Becerra of California, has the support of the House's top Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

H.R. 15, or the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, has 200 sponsors, including three Republicans. And a report released this week by the Congressional Budget Office found the bill, similar to one passed last year by the Senate, would reduce the deficit by $200 billion in 10 years and $900 billion by 2034.

Statement by President Obama supporting the passage of comprehensive immigration reform:

Last year, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to pass a commonsense bill to fix our broken immigration system -- a bill that would grow our economy, shrink our deficits, and reward businesses and workers that play by the rules. But so far, Republicans in the House have refused to allow meaningful immigration reform legislation to even come up for a vote.

That’s why, today, I applaud the efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves. Like the Senate bill, the House bill would strengthen our borders, modernize our legal immigration system, and keep more families together. It would make sure everyone plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are living in the shadows. And according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it would grow our economy and reduce our deficits by $900 billion over the next 20 years.

Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security, and our future. A vast majority of the American people agree. The only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country. And I want to thank the leaders in Congress who are doing their part to move us forward.
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