Obama urges Senate to approve immigration reform quickly

Washington, Apr 16 (EFE).- President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged the U.S. Senate to quickly approve a comprehensive immigration reform package that would allow the legalization of undocumented immigrants.

Obama met behind closed doors with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), with whom he reviewed the contents of the reform plan prepared by the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" starting in January.

"I urge the Senate to quickly move this bill forward and, as I told Senators Schumer and McCain, I stand willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform becomes a reality as soon as possible," said the president in a statement released by the White House.

The bill, Obama said, "is clearly a compromise, and no one will get everything they wanted, including me. But it is largely consistent with the principles that I have repeatedly laid out for comprehensive reform."

The bill will continue to strengthen security along the southern border and will punish companies that knowingly hire undocumented workers, but it will also open a path to "earned citizenship" for the 11 million undocumented foreigners living in this country, the president said.

The Gang of Eight is scheduled to formally present the bill on Tuesday, although Senate sources told Efe that their staffs and advisors still "are finalizing the technical language" of the plan.