White House, senators launch immigration push
WASHINGTON – Reviving an issue that has languished for years, President Barack Obama will launch a campaign next week aimed at overhauling the nation’s flawed immigration system and creating legal status for millions, as a bipartisan Senate group nears agreement on achieving the same goals.
The proposals from Obama and lawmakers will mark the start of what is expected to be a contentious and emotional process with deep political implications. Latino voters overwhelmingly backed Obama in the 2012 election, leaving Republicans grappling for a way to regain their standing with an increasingly powerful pool of voters.
The president will press his case for immigration changes during a trip to Las Vegas Tuesday. The Senate working group is also aiming to outline its proposals next week, according to a Senate aide.
Administration officials say Obama’s second-term immigration push will be a continuation of the principles he outlined during his first four years in office but failed to act on.
He is expected to revive his little-noticed 2011 immigration “blueprint,” which calls for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants that includes paying fines and back taxes; increased border security; mandatory penalties for businesses that employ unauthorized immigrants; and improvements to the legal immigration system, including giving green cards to high-skilled workers and lifting caps on legal immigration for the immediate family members of U.S. citizens.