Obama hails immigration reform framework

11:17, March 19, 2010      

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday praised a bipartisan immigration reform framework put forward by two Senators, saying the next step is to translate the framework into a legislative proposal.

The framework was brought forward by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham in an article posted on Washington Post's website earlier Thursday.

They proposed to shore up U.S. border security, lay the path to legalizing the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, create a process for admitting temporary workers, and introduce a bio-metric identification card for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.

In a statement, Obama said the framework "can and should be the basis for moving forward," and the administration will be consulting further with the Senators on the details of their proposal. He said a critical next step will be to translate their framework into a legislative proposal, and for Congress to act at the earliest possible opportunity.

In his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised to take on immigration reform. But as he tried to advance the health insurance reform for the past year, he was criticized for failing to fulfill the immigration pledge.

Thousands of illegal immigrants and activists are to hit the streets of Washington, D.C. on Sunday, calling for reform.

Obama said he is to do everything in his power to forge a bipartisan consensus this year so that the United States can continue to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform.

With the influx of illegal immigrants, immigration reform has become a hot-button issue in U.S. politics. Former President George W. Bush's effort to revamp immigration policy foundered in Congress in 2007, and the issue has occupied headlines in recent national elections.

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