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President Obama Focuses on Immigration Reform

(new lede, graf 2-4, writes through Monday's CN))

President Barack Obama is to highlight immigration proposals Tuesday, after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators unveiled an immigration reform plan Monday that includes a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally.

Mr. Obama will speak in Nevada, a state among the most-affected by immigration.

Senior administration officials say the president will not introduce new legislation because he wants to give Congress time to act on its own proposals.

Latino activists have criticized Mr. Obama for failing to make immigration reform a priority of his first term.

The senators introduced a plan under which illegal immigrants would register with the government, pass a background check, pay fines and back taxes, and complete other steps to earn a probationary status to legally live and work in the United States. They would then be placed at the back of the line for those seeking a so-called green card as a permanent legal resident.

The plan includes exceptions for those who entered the country as children, as well as for agricultural workers who play a role in maintaining the nation's food supply.



The new plan also includes increased immigration enforcement. There is also a provision to create an effective system for employers to verify that workers are legal.

Charles Schumer, one of the eight senators who worked on the proposal, described the plan Monday in Washington as a tough, but fair. The New York Democrat said Mr. Obama is pleased with the compromise.

Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, said lawmakers have an obligation to address the situation of the 11 million people in the country illegally while being fair to those seeking citizenship though legal channels.

In addition to senators Schumer and Rubio, the others who worked on the proposal are Democrats Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez and Michael Bennet, and Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Jeff Flake. They represent some of the states most affected by illegal migration, including Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and New York.

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