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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama urged the House of Representatives on Thursday to follow the lead of the Senate and approve a sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration laws.
"Today, the Senate did its job. It's now up to the House to do the same," Obama said in a statement issued after the Senate voted 68-32 to pass the immigration plan. The statement was issued from Dakar, Senegal, where Obama was traveling.
Enactment of the immigration plan would mark a substantial achievement for the start of Obama's second term, but the legislation faces grim prospects in the Republican-controlled House.
Obama urged those Americans who support the measure to contact their elected representatives to press them to vote for it.
"Now is the time when opponents will try their hardest to pull this bipartisan effort apart so they can stop commonsense reform from becoming a reality. We cannot let that happen," he said.
"If you're among the clear majority of Americans who support reform - from CEOs to labor leaders, law enforcement to clergy - reach out to your member of Congress. Tell them to do the right thing," Obama said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Eric Beech and Stacey Joyce)