President Barack Obama on Tuesday will praise an immigration-overhaul plan proposed by a bipartisan group of eight senators, calling their efforts encouraging and prodding Congress to act.
“The good news is that—for the first time in many years—Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together,” Mr. Obama will say in a speech a Las Vegas high school, according to excerpts of his remarks released by the White House. “At this moment, it looks like there’s a genuine desire to get this done soon. And that’s very encouraging.”
Overhauling the nation’s immigration system has gained momentum, as the senators’ plan offering a path to citizenship for many of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants drew support from business leaders, labor groups and now Mr. Obama. The president has made immigration one of the top priorities of his second term, but his call for action would go nowhere without Republican support.
Four Republican senators, including Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, joined four Democrats in unveiling a way forward on immigration Monday. Their plan would allow most people in the country illegally to qualify for a probationary legal status, provided they register with the government, pass a background check and pay a fine and any back taxes. Those with criminal records or who pose a threat to the U.S. would be subject to deportation.
That differs from Mr. Obama’s plan in one fundamental way. His own proposal doesn’t require that the country’s border with Mexico be deemed secure before granting citizenship to those in the U.S. illegally. Administration officials suggested that Mr. Obama may not support that condition, and the White House has been quick to say that the administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to securing the border.