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Obama, congress members push to overhaul immigration laws

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

President Obama is planning a big speech to the nation next Tuesday on the controversial issue of immigration. Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who met with the President Friday morning with six others from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told FOX 32 News that the President wants to allow illegal immigrants to "earn" citizenship.

Gutierrez said he told them the proposals in his speech next week would be similar to their own 9-point program for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

The Hispanic Caucus also recommends requiring all immigrants to register with the government, submit to fingerprinting and a criminal background check. A "workable employment verification system" would screen all future job applicants.

Recording FOX 32 Sunday with Gutierrez was a Senate leader on immigration reform. Dick Durbin said the politics of the issue has changed dramatically since last year's Presidential campaign, with some Republicans now loudly regretting Mitt Romney's tough talk on immigration. Durbin is one of three Democrats negotiating with three Republican senators.

"John McCain is part of the group; Marco Rubio, Republican from Florida; Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina," Durbin said. "We've sat down. We've been hammering out, meeting after meeting, a set of principles and values we agree on. We can do this."

While Gutierrez was happy today, in 2010 he was arrested in front of the White House, protesting the President's failure to deliver the comprehensive immigration reform he promised in his first campaign and to protest increased deportations that now total more than one million under Mr. Obama.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio and other Republicans have indicated they may offer a plan that includes a much longer and more difficult path to citizenship than the President is likely to propose. Gutierrez predicted hearings on Capitol Hill will begin "soon."

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