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House immigration debate to continue into fall

The U.S. House of Representatives recently took up debate on immigration reform. As we have noted in prior posts, the Senate passed their version of the bill last month. However, the debate in the House is likely to be more contentious and divisive than the Senate discussions. 

While Republican and Democratic representatives have many differences when it comes to immigration reform, perhaps the biggest issue has to do with a prospective path to citizenship. Republicans appear ready to reject any bill that includes a citizenship track, Democrats insist that a bill must include such a path.

While representatives for both parties have drawn public battle lines as debates begin, President Obama appears ready to reassert his role in encouraging lawmakers to pass a bill. According to an ABC News.com report, he gave a series of interviews with Spanish language television stations where he reiterated his position that a reform bill should include a pathway to citizenship. 

In speaking to a Denver based Telemundo affiliate, Obama explained, "It does not make sense to me, if we are going to make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix this system, to leave the status of 11 million people or so unresolved."

The citizenship aspect is important in many respects. It can change the voting public drastically within the next 20 years, especially in districts where the demographics are changing. The bill may also affect the long-term viability of the Republican Party. As the 2012 election showed, many Hispanic voters rejected the party because of its stance on immigration. 

In the meantime, President Obama will continue to encourage lawmakers to pass a comprehensive bill.

Source: ABC News.com, Obama:Immigration debate will slip into the fall, July17, 2013

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