(CNN) – The immigration reform measure senators will begin debating next week isn’t a perfect fix to the nation’s broken system, President Barack Obama said Saturday, but it does solve many of the flaws currently hampering the process.
Speaking in his weekly address, Obama said the measure devised by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” was consistent with his principles, and should move forward in the Senate without delays from Republicans.
“The bill before the Senate isn’t perfect. It’s a compromise. Nobody will get everything they want – not Democrats, not Republicans, not me,” Obama said.
The most heated debate on the Senate’s immigration overhaul centers on its pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, which many Republicans have said amounts to amnesty.
In the proposed law, the pathway would be contingent on bolstering border security, though there is still contention on how that ramp-up would be enacted.
Obama stressed in his address that thanks to new technologies, illegal border crossings are down, and that new enforcement initiatives have targeted dangerous immigrants in the United States illegally.
He also touted his decision last year to allow some young undocumented immigrants to defer deportation by two years, which House Republicans voted to scrap earlier this week.
The House measure is expected to die in the Senate.
But those piecemeal changes to the system aren’t enough, Obama said, calling on senators to work together toward passing an immigration bill soon.
“There is no reason that Congress can’t work together to send a bill to my desk by the end of the summer,” Obama said. “We know the opponents of reform are going to do everything they can to prevent that. They’ll try to stoke fear and create division. They’ll try to play politics with an issue that the vast majority of Americans want addressed. And if they succeed, we will lose this chance to finally fix an immigration system that is badly broken.”
While the Senate’s immigration bill has garnered bipartisan support in that chamber, many House Republicans have said the measure won’t pass muster on their side of Capitol Hill, where a separate bipartisan group has been working on its own version of immigration reform.
This week, a key member of the House group, GOP Rep. Raul Labrador, said he was leaving negotiations, citing policy disagreements.
Even in the Senate, approval of comprehensive immigration reform is far from certain.
A key Republican player, Sen. Marco Rubio, said he may vote against the bill he helped draft if certain changes that he’s proposed aren’t added.