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Views & Analysis

October 26, 2013

President Obama Addresses Immigration Reform

ObamaYesterday, President Obama brought together a coalition of immigration reform advocates—including NCLR—and gave his first address on immigration reform since Congress finally ended the government shutdownand cleared the way to reengage with the rest of its legislative agenda. His message to Congress on this crucial issue was simple and clear:

“It’s time,” he declared to a roaring crowd, “Let’s go get it done.”

Earlier this year, the Senate passed legislation that would overhaul and repair our broken immigration system and provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people currently living under the fear of deportation, including at least 267,000 undocumented people who identify as LGBT. The bill passed the Senate with a strong, bipartisan majority, and contained many provisions that will be particularly crucial for LGBT immigrants.

Recently, leaders in the House of Representatives introduced H.R. 15, which is identical to the version of the bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, before an unnecessary amendment focusing on enforcement and border security was later added. The provisions of this bill enjoy bipartisan support and will strengthen our communities, our families, and our country. The House has thus far failed to act on this legislation, and President Obama made clear that he agrees with immigration advocates that inaction is unacceptable.

Dismissing the excuse that there simply wasn’t time to take this issue up in 2013, President Obama called on the House of Representatives to listen to the overwhelming majority of voters who want to see our immigration system reformed and pass this crucial legislation before the end of the year.

The Senate bill, while not perfect, represents the most realistic effort in decades to fix our immigration system and replace it with a more humane and workable model. NCLR has worked closely with our friends in the broader immigration reform movement to strengthen the bill and continues to advocate for the broadest and most accessible pathway to citizenship possible. We join President Obama in demanding that House leaders stop stalling, start leading, and give us a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.

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