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President Obama / Carolyn Kaster, AP

President Obama said Friday that new Republican ideas on immigration move "in the direction of the principles I have laid out" - but he still wants a pathway to citizenship for those who came to the USA illegally, while the GOP wants a new form of "legal status."

"We don't want a situation in which we have two categories of people in this country," Obama said during an online Google+ Hangout.

That said, Obama said he and his team will work with House Republicans on a major immigration bill, and he is "modestly optimistic about Congress acting this year."

The president added, "Obviously, the devil is in the details ... I'm going to be pushing hard the next few months to see if we can get this across the finish line."

The Democratic-run Senate passed an immigration bill last year that included a path to citizenship for about 12 million people in the country illegally. The House has not taken up a bill.

House Republican leaders released a set of principles that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain legal status after paying back taxes and fines.

Some GOP lawmakers and many constituents criticized that plan, saying it basically includes amnesty for lawbreakers.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Obama 'modestly optimistic' about immigration bill

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