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Practice Note
Breaking News: President Obama Made Key Speech about Immigration Reform on January 29, 2013

On January 29, 2013, President Barack Obama made a key speech at Las Vegas about comprehensive immigration reform.  He urged bipartisan effort, and said he would insist on a vote if bipartisan efforts there fail.

The so-called “Gang of Eight”, a group of eight senators -- four Democrats, four Republicans released a framework on January 28, 2013 of their plans for immigration reform. While there are many details to be decided, they generally agreed on the need for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

President Obama said: "I believe we are finally at a moment where comprehensive immigration reform is within our grasp".

While President Obama’s speech generally concurred with the proposal of the Senate Gang about a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, his proposal would not tie the pathway to the contingency of meeting border security before green cards could be distributed.

The Senate group's framework would enable undocumented immigrants to gain provisional status that would allow them to remain in the United States, then apply for green cards once certain border enforcement requirements are met, before eventually being eligible to become citizens. The president made no such requirements, although he also proposed enhanced border enforcement. He said he would require undocumented immigrants to receive a background check, pay taxes and a fine, learn English and go to the "back of the line" behind would-be immigrants who have applied for a visa from outside of the United States.

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