President Obama Calls Immigration System 'Out of Date'

LAS VEGAS -- President Barack Obama said it's time for immigration reform. He told a crowd at Del Sol High School that he will insist on a vote if Congress is unable to move forward on this issue.

He began his speech calling the country's immigration policy "out-of-date" and that now is the time for "commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform."

Slideshow: President Obama's Las Vegas Visit

Obama wants to address three major issues:

Enforcement: To strengthen security at the borders and penalize businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

Pathway to citizenship: For millions of people already in the U.S. they would be able to become citizens but only after undergoing background checks and paying penalties. 

Legal immigration system into 21st century: A person should not have to wait years for their family to join them.

Obama mentioned a Las Vegas CSN student in his speech. The young undocumented immigrant was recently granted authorization to stay in the U.S.

"The first thing I felt, it was relief, with no fear. I got my drivers license," said Alan Aleman who says the moment he became documented was the happiest moment in his life.

Obama said, as he ended his speech, "In the coming weeks, as the idea of reform becomes more real and the debate becomes more heated and folks try to pull this apart … remember this is not just a debate about policy, it's about people … trying to earn their way into the American dream."

Mindful of previous immigrations efforts that have failed, Obama warned that the debate would become more difficult as it gets closer to a conclusion.

Both the White House and Senate proposals still lack key details. And potential roadblocks are already emerging, even before a Senate measure can be debated, approved and sent to the Republican-controlled House where opposition is likely to be stronger.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

  


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