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Obama hints at easing stance on immigration

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Barack Obama and top Republican leaders are signaling willingness to soften their stances on immigration legislation as they try to open the door for compromise before many in Congress face elections late this year.

Obama suggested in an interview aired Friday that he may drop his insistence that any legislation include a special pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people already in the U.S. illegally. A day earlier, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders released immigration principles that would allow millions of adults who live in the country unlawfully to get legal status after paying back taxes and fines.

Obama repeated his preference for a solid route to citizenship. But the president said he would have to evaluate the implications of a process to allow people get legal status and then have the option to become citizens.

“If the speaker proposes something that says right away, folks aren't being deported, families aren't being separated, we're able to attract top young students to provide the skills or start businesses here, and then there's a regular process of citizenship, I'm not sure how wide the divide ends up being,” Obama said in a CNN interview that was recorded Thursday.

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