President Barack Obama is planning to push for a vote in the House on a Democratic-sponsored immigration reform measure as soon as the crisis over the government shutdown and debt ceiling is resolved.
"If I have to join with other advocates and continue to speak out on that and keep pushing, I'm going to do so because I think it's really important for the country," Obama told Univision's affiliate in Los Angeles
House Democrats earlier this month introduced an immigration bill that is very similar to a Senate version passed this summer, except for some border security provisions that were added to the Senate measure to attract more support from Republicans, The Hill reported Wednesday
Obama said in the Univision interview that the House Democratic-sponsored immigration reform measure is currently on hold because House Speaker John Boehner "is not willing" to put it to a vote of the full House.
But other House Republican leaders, including Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte
, are opposed to the Democratic measure because it looks too much like the Senate bill, which Goodlatte described as "fundamentally flawed and unworkable," not to mention "unconstitutional." He also cites a Congressional Budget Office estimate that the Senate bill would only reduce illegal immigration by one-third.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has also declared that the Democratic House bill has "zero chance" of passage in the House, reports ThinkProgress.org
Meanwhile, Goodlatte and Cantor have been working on a measure
that would eventually offer citizenship status to immigrants who were brought in illegally to the United States as children.
Two other Republicans, Reps. Raul Labrador of Idaho and Ted Poe of Texas, are also working on a plan for a visa program that allows more lower-skilled workers into the country.
In addition, Republicans are also reportedly considering moving a series of immigration-related bills that have already passed committees onto the floor for a vote later this month.
According to the Hill, Democrats are concerned that Republican focus more on employment verification efforts and don't go far enough in providing a pathway to citizenship for all illegal immigrants in the country now.
In his interview with Univision, Obama said the government shutdown had harmed more than three million Latino businesses, according to ThinkProgress. He insisted that immigration reform would help the economy grow faster once legalized immigrant workers start paying taxes.
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