The comprehensive immigration reform if passed by the Congress will provide a path to citizenship to some 11 million undocumented people, including 2.4 lakh Indians. (Agencies)
In his annual State of the Union Address, Obama said immigration reform is key to the economic growth of the country.
"If we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labour leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement, and fix our broken immigration system," Obama said.
"Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost USD 1 trillion in the next two decades," he said.
"For good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let's get immigration reform done this year," Obama said, outlining a series of measures to speed up growth and create more jobs.
The President argued that in a rapidly-changing economy it was important to make sure that every American has the skills to fill jobs that have been created.
With the economy back on track, Obama said that he believes 2014 could be a breakthrough year for America.
"After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth. That's why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America," Obama said.
US President pointed out that over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good middle-class jobs and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.
"Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled,” Obama said.
"The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all," he said, adding that his job is to reverse these trends.
Proposing a set of concrete practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class, Obama urged the Congress to act in the absence of which he committed to take executive actions to achieve his goals.
He asked the Congressional leadership to close loopholes in the taxation system, end incentives to ship jobs overseas and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home.
"We can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes – because in today's global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure," he said.
"We'll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible," he said.
The comprehensive immigration reform if passed by the Congress will provide a path to citizenship to some 11 million undocumented people, including 2.4 lakh Indians.