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Obama Expresses Hope for Immigration Overhaul

WASHINGTON — President Obama renewed his call Tuesday for Congress to get moving on an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, while asking business leaders from some of the USA's largest companies to help nudge Republicans along on the issue.

After weeks of focusing on the government shutdown and troubled roll out of the federal government's online health exchange, Obama signaled that he's ready to step up his immigration agenda.

On Tuesday, he gathered executives from top U.S. companies at the White House to discuss his push, and again reiterated his goal of getting legislation done by the end of the year.

The Democratic-controlled Senate passed an immigration bill earlier this year, but prospects in the GOP-controlled House have been seen as dim. But Obama expressed optimism and suggested that the votes are there if House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, bucks the most conservative wing of his party and cobbles together the votes from moderate Republicans and Democrats.

"What's been encouraging is, is that there are a number of House Republicans who have said, we think this is the right thing to do, as well," Obama said. "And it's my estimation that we actually have votes to get comprehensive immigration reform done in the House right now."

The president added: "The politics are challenging for the speaker and others, and we want to make it as easy for him as possible. This is not an issue where we're looking for a political win. This is one where we're looking for a substantive win for the U.S. economy and the American people and the businesses that are represented here."

The business executives who attended Tuesday's meeting with Obama included: Roger Altman, founder and chairman of Evercore Partners; Greg Brown, chairman and CEO of Motorola Solution; Joe Echevarria, CEO of Deloitte; Marillyn Hewson, CEO and president of Lockheed Martin; Edward Rust, chairman and CEO of State Farm; Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott; Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone; and Don Thompson, president and CEO of McDonalds.

"I continue to be hopeful that with the leadership of many who are around this table who represent hundreds of thousands of employees and billions of dollars of assets, who are important in their communities all across the country, them joining up with law enforcement, clergy, citizens, to make the case that ultimately folks up on Capitol Hill will do the right thing," Obama said.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/11/05/obama-immigration-meeting-executives/3443849/

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