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Immigration talks on Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON — Immigration is the hot topic in Washington today. From the white house to Capitol Hill – lawmakers and leaders are trying to agree on a plan to deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants in this country.

President Obama is expected to make a big push for reform in his state of the union speech next week.

President Obama sits down today with CEOs, Labor leaders, and civic groups to talk about immigration. “We need Congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in the country right now,” said President Barack Obama.

What he didn’t say was: we’ll tighten up the borders before letting those immigrants stay here legally.

During her border tour – she’s in El Paso today – homeland security chief Janet Napolitano warned against a complete lockdown. “You have to have a safe and secure border. But you also have to have one where people can travel back and forth to conduct legitimate travel, and trade and commerce,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Republicans insist: border security first. We’ll hear more on that this morning at a House Judiciary hearing on immigration reform.

Latinos largely rejected Republicans in the last election, but it’s unclear if that’ll soften conservatives. “Many of them are from districts where there aren’t a lot of Latino voters and there isn’t a huge amount of pressure to attack this immigration issue right now,” said Josh Gerstein from Politico.

Anti-immigration groups say enforcing laws already on the books would force thousands to leave the U.S. on their own. “We think if we did that, we could easily see this problem reverse itself in a matter of years,” said Center for Immigration Studies, John Feere.

A group of Democrats and Republicans are working behind the scenes on a reform plan both sides can live with, but it’s unclear how much progress they’ve made.

Tracie Potts, NBC News.