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President urges House to move forward on immigration reform

In a speech made on Oct. 17, President Obama took congressional members to task for the fiscal stalemate that was barely resolved and pushed for passage - before year's end - of a similarly stalled immigration bill that could grant permanent legal residency and eventual citizenship to undocumented immigrants.

But the president's refusal to negotiate during the budget crisis has angered Republicans, who are not inclined to make immigration reform a priority.

"It's not going to happen this year," said Republican Representative Raul Labrador.

Representative Aaron Schock was in agreement, adding that he isn't sure that Republicans are willing to consider any domestic issues other than the debt.

While the Democrat-dominated Senate had passed an unprecedented immigration reform package in June, conservative Republicans occupy the majority in the House, and are not enthusiastic about any measure that they consider "amnesty" for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently living illegally in the United States.

Still, considering that the immigration bill passed in the Senate was both crafted and approved with the support of Republicans, some in Congress are optimistic that negotiations on immigration reform could at least get rolling in the next few months.

Democratic political consultant Maria Cardona said that the next two months are "window of opportunity" for the House to vote the reform. Democrats believe that immigration reform is a chance for Republicans to redeem their image in the eyes of the public after losing popularity in the wake of the government shutdown.

Not all House Republicans are against an immigration overhaul. Both sides are in favor of tightening restrictions on the hiring of undocumented immigrants and upping the number of visas issued for in-demand and highly qualified applicants such as farm workers and engineers.

But confidence in government is low, according to Senator Marco Rubio, and consensus among the two parties will be hard to reach.

While the rest of the country watches and waits for what politicians will do, immigrants wishing to work and live permanently in the United States may wish to consult with an experienced immigration attorney in getting help with the complex process of obtaining a green card or citizenship.

Source:, "Democrats renew push for immigration bill" David Nakamura, Oct. 17, 2013

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