4.09.2007

Obama: Immigrants need chance to become citizens

Obama: Immigrants need chance to become citizens (by Jason Clayworth, The Des Moines Register - 4.7.07)

Millions of unauthorized immigrants should be given the opportunity to become U.S. citizens, presidential candidate Barack Obama said during a campaign stop Friday in Marshalltown, a city that was shaken by immigration raids at a local meatpacker late last year.

"I know this generates a lot of passions but I think this is the approach that is the most realistic for us to get out of the situation we're in right now," Obama told a crowd of about 600 people at Iowa Valley Community College in Marshalltown.

Forcing millions of families who currently live in the United States to leave is impractical, he said. Obama told the crowd that unauthorized immigrants should be given a chance to become citizens, but he said his ideas would not grant "amnesty."

Undocumented residents should face fines, have no other criminal records, be required to learn English and be placed in the legal immigration process - but not ahead of others already in line - to become legal citizens.

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