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Obama calls on GOP to support federal immigration reform

Obama calls on GOP to support federal immigration reform

President Obama on Thursday recommitted his administration and, indirectly, congressional Democrats to comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already living in the U.S.

The president said immigration reform cannot wait, and he urged congressional Republicans to join with Democrats and the American people, who he said have already made immigration a top priority.

“I’m ready to move forward,” he said during his speech at American University. ”But the fact is without bipartisan support we cannot solve this problem. We cannot pass comprehensive reform without Republican votes. That is a political and mathematical reality.”

He started the speech by explaining the country needs ”one, clear national standard,” and he outlined the problems that can arise from ”a patchwork” of immigration laws in different states across the country, a reference to Arizona’s law that requires local and state police to arrest illegal immigrants and to calls in at least a dozen other states for similar laws.

Obama said it’s time to be honest about the problems and get past the “false debates.” He said both sides of the immigration fight have resorted to distorting the facts and clamoring for the kinds of laws that would be untenable on practical and moral levels.

“This issue lends itself to demagoguing,” Obama said.

He said those seeking amnesty for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. would lead to a surge in illegal immigration and would be unfair to those waiting for legal documentation to come into the U.S. Plus, he said, those who willingly broke the law should be held accountable.

But Obama also said rounding up all of the illegal immigrants and their children would be devastating because so many of them are “woven into the American fabric” by holding jobs, owning homes and contributing to their communities in other ways.

He said young children who crossed the border illegally with their parents should be allowed to pursue the American Dream, and he reiterated his longheld support for the Dream Act. 

The president also said a seal-the-border-first approach would delay much-needed changes to the immigration system as a whole. Republican representatives and senators, however, have said they won’t vote for any immigration measures until the border has been secured.

“I do not agree with President Obama’s assertion that we must pass comprehensive immigration reform in order to secure the border.  I do, however, believe it is necessary that we secure the border before we try to pass comprehensive immigration reform,” U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl said in response to the president’s speech. 

In addition, Obama said Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano has been directed to improve federal immigration enforcement policies without waiting for a new law. He said that means more troops on the border and more support staff to stop violent criminals and drug cartels from entering the U.S.

He said federal agents are seizing more contraband than ever before and that crime is down along the border, despite reports to the contrary.

“The border is more secure today than it has been at any time during the past 20 years,” he said.

Kyl disputed that assertion as well.

“The President and his administration claim that much has been done over the past two years to secure the border,” Kyl said. ”Yet, a half a million people still illegally enter our country today, most through Arizona, and his administration has yet to lay out a strategy on how it intends to bring it under control.”

  1. America
    America07-01-2010

    Obamao: “”In sum, the system is broken and everybody knows it”

    The first time we really hear that the Fed Gov has ignored and minimized this problem to the complete detriment and disgust of the American people.

    Gee, that may be what AZ graphically realized as its citizens were being murdered while ILLEGALS (not a racial issue – unless you want it to be) and drug lords run at will.

    This is more timely political posturing – nothing more. They know a November to Remember is coming.

    Here’s the proper perspective on becoming an American:

    “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language.. And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

    ~ Theodore Roosevelt 1907

  2. Rob M
    Rob M07-01-2010

    This President continues to betray Americans and America… JOBS and a sound economy is what we want… and enforcing our constitution and the law pertaining to illegals invading our country and raping and exhausting our resources is what we want…. This President is going to do what he did to Healthcare reform in spite of an ailing and devestated economy and cram it up our butts at the expense of improving our economy and collapsing America further! Wake up Washington, grow a spine, confront this mad dog and shut him down, Rally Americans for support… go public… Put the congress and senate debates on National TV NOW. Where is the transparency Obama promised. Americans need to see and hgear this nonsense as it unfolds daily. This economy should be the only concern right now… and enforcement of immigration and our current laws is all we require right now!

  3. Brazilia Zurvaz
    Brazilia Zurvaz07-02-2010

    yada yada yada, Obama is not doing the job for the American people
    he’s more interested in protecting criminals

  4. CommonSense
    CommonSense07-14-2010

    President Obama need to stop saying that the American people want what he is stating what he want. Poll after poll have shown this to be incorrect.

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