President Barack Obama said the U.S. economy is “stifled” by an inefficient immigration system and that a consensus is forming in Congress that may lead to a rewritten law in the next few months.
Current immigration laws result in some families being split as well as companies being denied skilled workers who get educated here and then return to their countries of origin, Obama said.
The president has said he wants Congress to approve immigration changes that increase border security and create a road to citizenship for some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. Bipartisan groups of lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives have been working on legislation.
“My hope is that we can get this done in the next few months,” Obama said in an online question-and-answer session on Google Inc.’s Google Plus website.
Senate Democratic leaders have said passing an immigration measure before Congress’s August recess is a top priority. Democrats control the Senate 55-45. Immigration law changes may face a tougher path in the Republican-controlled House.
Republicans have sought to couple the citizenship provision to tighter border security. House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters today that “there are a number of issues” to resolve on immigration before passage.
Obama is also confronting Republican resistance to his proposal to tighten U.S. gun laws by making background checks universal for firearms purchases and banning military-style assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The Second Amendment to the Constitution doesn’t say that any weapon made should be easily available for purchase, Obama said in response to a question. There “may be a small category of weapons” that won’t be allowed to be sold if the changes are adopted, he said.
“People are going to be able to buy all kinds of guns and use them legally,” Obama said.