President Obama Outlines Immigration Reform Plan

Obama urges enforcement, a pathway to earn citizenship and improvements to legal immigration system.
4:57 | 01/29/13

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Transcript for President Obama Outlines Immigration Reform Plan
Today I'm lying out my ideas for immigration reform. And my hope is that this provides some key markers to members of congress as -- craft a bill. -- -- ideas I'm proposing have traditionally been supported by both Democrats like Ted Kennedy. And Republicans. Like president George W. Bush you don't get that match up very off. So so we know where the consensus should -- Now of course there will be rigorous debate about many of the details. Every stakeholders should engage in real give and take in the process. But it's important for us to recognize. That the foundation. For bipartisan action is already in place. And if congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion. I will send up a bill based on my proposal. And insist that they vote on it right away. -- So that the principles. Are pretty straightforward. There -- a lot of details behind it we're gonna hand -- a bunch of paper. That are but I don't know exactly what we're talking about but. But the principles are pretty straightforward. First. I believe we need to stay focused on -- -- That means continuing to strengthen. Security at our borders. It means cracking down more forcefully on businesses that knowingly hire undocumented workers. To be fair most businesses want to do the right thing but a lot of them have a hard time figuring out who's here legally who's not. So we need to implement a national system that allows businesses to quickly and accurately verify someone's employment status. And if they still knowingly hire undocumented workers that we need to ramp up the penalties. Second. We have to deal with the eleven million individuals were here illegal. -- we all agree that these men and women should have to earn their way to citizenship. But for -- -- immigration -- work. It must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship. -- -- A process that includes passing a background check. Paying taxes. Paying a penalty. Learning English. And I'm going to the back of -- line behind all the folks we're trying to come here legally that's only fair. Abundance. They won't be a quick process. But it would be a fair process and -- will let these individuals out of the shadows. And give them a chance to earn their way to a green card and eventually. To citizenship. And the third principle. Is we've got to bring our legal immigration system into the 21 century. Because they're no longer reflects the realities of our time. For example. If you're a citizen. You shouldn't have to wait years before her family is able to join -- -- -- If you're foreign student who wants to pursue a career in science and technology. Or -- entrepreneur or who want to start a business. With the backing of American investors. We should help you do that here. Because if you succeed -- -- American businesses and American jobs. The levels grow our economy -- help us strengthen our middle class. So that's what -- present immigration reform looks like. It's smarter enforcement. A pathway to earned citizenship. Improvements. In the legal immigration system so that we continue to be a magnet. For the best and the brightest all around the world. It's pretty straightforward. The question now is simply. Do we have the result. As -- people. -- country. Big government. To finally put this issue behind us. I believe that we do.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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