Washington: President Barack Obama on Sunday said there is a good chance of pushing through contentious US immigration reform this year.
The reform, currently being debated in Congress, would pave the way for citizenship to 11 million undocumented people and accelerate the process of professionals from countries like India and China.
"I actually think that we have a good chance of getting immigration reform," Obama told in an interview.
Obama argued that this would not only create jobs, but also give a boost to the US economy.
"If the Speaker (of the US House of Representatives) proposes something that says right away folks aren`t being deported, families aren`t being separated, we`re able to attract top young students to provide the skills or start businesses here, and, then there`s a regular process of citizenship," Obama said when asked about the recent move by the Republican Party on immigration reform.
He said that there is a desire to get it done.
"There is a desire to get it done. And that particularly in this Congress is a huge piece of business, because they haven`t got a lot done over the last couple of years out of the House Republican caucus. They`ve been willing to say what they`re against, not so much what they`re for. The fact that they`re for something, I think, is progress," he said.
"I do know that for a lot of families, the fear of deportation is one of the biggest concerns that they`ve got and that`s why we took executive actions given my prosecutorial discretion to make sure we`re not deporting kids who grew up here and are Americans for all practical purposes, but we need to get that codified," he said.
"And the question is, is there more that we can do in this legislation that gets both Democratic and Republican support but solves these broader problems, including strengthening borders and making sure that we have a legal immigration system that works better than it currently does," Obama said.
"My big push is making sure we`re focused on opportunity, making sure that every single day, all of us in Washington are trying to think about ways that we can help folks get good jobs, make sure that they`re train for the good jobs that are out there, make sure that those jobs pay, make sure our kids are getting a great education," he said.
"Those are the issues that the American people still very much are concerned about. And, obviously, there`s going to be more that we can do if Congress is able to breakthrough some of the gridlock. And if we`re able to, for example, pass immigration reform, that is going to add growth to our economy, reduce our deficits," said the president.
Obama acknowledged that there are going to be some issues where it`s going to be tough to move forward.
"I am going to continue to reach out to them and say, here are my best ideas. I want to hear yours. But as I said at the state of the union, I can`t wait and the American people more importantly cannot wait. We know that one of the biggest problems right now in the jobs market is the long-term unemployed," he said.