President Barack Obama on Wednesday predicted a comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a path to citizenship for those in the country illegally early next year.
"My expectation is we get a bill introduced and we begin the process in Congress very soon after my inauguration," Obama told reporters during his first post-election news conference. "I think it should include a continuation of the strong border security measures that we've taken because we have to secure our borders. I think it should contain serious penalties for companies that are purposely hiring undocumented workers and taking advantage of them. And I do think there should be a pathway for legal status for those who are living in this country, are not engaged in criminal activity, are here simply to work."
He continued, "It's important for them to pay back taxes, it's important for them to learn English, it's important for them to potentially pay a fine but to give them the avenue whereby they can resolve their legal status here in this country."