Obama: 'House needs to act' on immigration

July 13, 2013 at 6:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 13 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday urged Americans to pressure the House of Representatives to pass immigration reform.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president repeated much of what he has said in recent weeks about immigration reform legislation.

He said the bill passed last month by the Senate will improve border security, "offer a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million people who are in this country illegally -- a pathway that includes paying penalties, learning English, and going to the end of the line behind everyone trying to come here legally. And it would modernize our legal immigration system to make it more consistent with our values.

"The Senate's plan would also provide a big boost to our recovery," he said, noting a report this week indicating the Senate-passed bill would result in 5 percent more economic growth over 10 years than currently projected.

"That's $1.4 trillion added to our economy just by fixing our immigration system," Obama said.

"That's what immigration reform would mean for our economy -- but only if we act," the president said. "If we don't do anything to fix our broken system, our workforce will continue to shrink as baby boomers retire. We won't benefit from highly-skilled immigrants starting businesses and creating jobs here. American workers will have to make do with lower wages and fewer protections. And without more immigrants and businesses paying their fair share in taxes, our deficit will be higher and programs like Social Security will be under more strain."

Noting the bipartisan support for the Senate bill and former President George W. Bush's endorsement of reform, Obama said "the House needs to act so I can sign commonsense immigration reform into law."

"And if you agree, tell your Representatives that now is the time," he said. "Call or email or post on their Facebook walls and ask them to get this done."

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