Immigration Reform: Will Obama Sign It Sans Citizenship?

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Anyone who watched the State of the Union Address is probably aware that immigration may very well take a prominent position in congressional action this coming year. Both President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) have signaled a desire to get border and immigration reform underway. Following Wednesday’s Address, the President gave an interview on CNN that aired Friday in which he hinted he might be in favor of a bill based on the principles recently released by House Republicans and Boehner. The caveat worth noting — and that the President seemed to reference — was that Republicans are set on offering legal status, but not an expedited method of gaining citizenship.

“If the speaker proposes something that says right away: Folks aren’t being deported, families aren’t being separated, we’re able to attract top young students to provide the skills or start businesses here and then there’s a regular process of citizenship, I’m not sure how wide the divide ends up being,” said Obama to CNN. He spoke positively on Boehner’s understanding of the situation, saying he felt “encouraged” to see that, “Mr. Boehner and others seem to recognize our country will be stronger if we are able to resolve this issue in a way where, you know, kids, for example, who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are Americans but don’t have the right papers are not being punished.”

That said, he did note that, “The principle that we don’t want two classes of people in America” is not one that should be difficult for either party to agree with, but left wiggle room in his rhetoric for signing a bill that might not go quite as far as some Democrats might wish in regards to citizenship options.

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