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Obama upbeat on immigration plan's chances

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:36 p.m.

WASHINGTON — President Obama rejected Republican complaints about his proposals for overhauling the immigration system on Wednesday and said he believes it is possible to get a deal done certainly by the end of the year if not in the first half.

Obama gave an interview to a pair of Spanish-language U.S. television networks, to promote his proposals for giving 11 million illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship after an influential bipartisan Gang of Eight senators offered its own plan.

“I'm hopeful that this can get done, and I don't think that it should take many, many months. I think this is something we should be able to get done certainly this year and Id like to see if we could get it done sooner, in the first half of the year if possible,” Obama told Telemundo.

If Congress delays, he said, “I've got a bill drafted, we've got language” ready to offer Capitol Hill.

Obama offered his principles on immigration on Tuesday. He pushed for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants that is faster than what the Senate group proposed.

Rather than emphasize border security first as the senators want, he would let undocumented immigrants go ahead and get on a path to citizenship, as long as they first undergo national security and criminal background checks, pay penalties, learn English and get behind those foreigners seeking to immigrate legally.

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