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'The time is now' for immigration reform: Obama

Published on Jan 30, 2013 6:14 AM
United States President Barack Obama delivers his address on immigration reform at Del Sol High School on Jan 29, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Obama commended Congress for their bipartisanship efforts in fixing illegal immigration policies. -- PHOTO: AFP

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) - United States (US) President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that long-sought reforms to a "broken" immigration system were within America's grasp, seeking to lock in rare momentum towards a major cross-party compromise.

Mr Obama laid out his principles on the divisive issue, which would nudge 11 million illegal immigrants slowly towards citizenship within stronger US borders and allow prized foreign students to stay on after graduation to boost the US economy.

"The question now is simple. Do we have the resolve as a people, as a country, as a government, to finally put this issue behind us? I believe that we do," Mr Obama said, during a lightning stop in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"I believe we are finally at a moment where comprehensive reform is within our grasp," Mr Obama said, at a time when Republicans are seeking to mitigate Democratic primacy among Hispanic voters, for whom immigration is a key issue.

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