In a major policy speech in Las Vegas Tuesday afternoon, President Barack Obama is expected to include same-sex couples in his proposals for immigration reform, according to multiple reports.
Building on the agenda Obama outlined in his inaugural address, the plan would be more liberal than the bipartisan Senate effort unveiled Monday.
A source reportedly told Buzzfeed that “unlike the Senate framework released Monday, same –sex bi-national couples, those with one American and one foreign partner, will be included in the White House principles.”
The Washington Post
reported that the president’s plan will pave the way for citizenship for illegal immigrants, according to people familiar with it. “The speech will kick off a public push by the administration in support of the broadest overhaul of immigration law in nearly three decades,” the newspaper said.
That could lead to a standoff with Congress at a time when both parties are pushing for action on immigration, with some Republicans advocating a succession of measures rather than a comprehensive package.
The bipartisan Senate proposal, for example, would allow illegal immigrants to obtain legal residency but not full citizenship until border security and enforcement measures are in place as well as a new employment verification process.
Obama has called for a quicker, more straightforward route to citizenship, but pledged Monday to work with a bipartisan group of eight senators on a comprehensive plan that will attract broad support. Still, the issue could become increasingly contentious as legislation makes its way through Congress.
Meanwhile, the president is likely to stir up even more controversy by introducing gay rights into the immigration discussion. The Post reported that his support for including same-sex couples in his plan “is almost certain to draw opposition from Catholic and Baptist groups that have been supportive of comprehensive reform.”
Likewise, Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain expressed concern during an appearance Monday morning on the CBS "Early Show," suggesting that it could make passage of bipartisan overhaul effort more difficult.
"It's something that, frankly, is not of paramount importance at this time," he said. "We'll have to look at it. We'll have to gauge how the majority of Congress feels. But that, to me, is a red flag that, frankly, we will address in time."
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