2 Jul 2010

Obama calls for total overhaul of immigration policy

5:46 pm on 2 July 2010

President Barack Obama has called for a complete overhaul of United States immigration policy, saying the current system is broken.

In his first major speech on immigration reform since taking office, Mr Obama said that neither a blanket amnesty nor mass deportation is the right way to deal with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in America.

America's borders are too vast to solve the problem of illegal immigration purely with fences and border patrols, he said.

Lamenting that immigration reform had been "held hostage to political posturing and special interest wrangling" he said that only by overcoming political divisions can a system be created that works.

"I'm ready to move forward," he said. "The majority of Democrats are ready to move forward, and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward.

"But the fact is, without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem."

It is unclear whether the US Congress will act on the President's call before November's mid-term elections.