Thursday, July 01, 2010

Obama calls for immigration reform By the CNN Wire Staff

Obama calls for immigration reform By the CNN Wire Staff
  • President Obama calls for comprehensive immigration reform
  • Obama says effort must be bipartisan
  • Democratic sources see little hope for action before midterm elections

(CNN) -- President Obama called Thursday for comprehensive immigration reform, noting that people nationwide "have expressed frustration with [an immigration] system that seems fundamentally broken."

The president urged Congress to tackle immigration reform legislation, but he noted that it would require support from Democrats and Republicans.

"That is the political and mathematical reality," Obama said.

Despite Obama's call for bipartisan immigration reform, several senior Democratic sources said Thursday that they see virtually no chance of Congress taking up such a measure before November's midterm elections.

Though some hold out hope for some potential movement during a lame duck session of Congress after the election, most sources said next year is the more realistic earliest target. But even that, according to one source, may be "happy talk."

Still, these sources said politically it's crucial for the president to give a speech like he did Thursday to put pressure on Republicans, and more importantly to reassure angry Latino voters that Democrats haven't forgotten about this issue.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. national poll conducted in late May indicated that public support for beefing up security along the U.S. border with Mexico had grown significantly. According to the survey, nearly nine out of 10 Americans want to beef up U.S. law enforcement along the border with Mexico.

Eight in 10 questioned also supported a program that would allow illegal immigrants already in the United States to stay here and apply for legal residency if they had a job and paid back taxes. But only 38 percent said that program should be a higher priority than border security and other get-tough proposals. Six in 10 said border security was a the higher priority.

Obama also noted Thursday that illegal immigration "makes a mockery of all those who are going through the process" of legal immigration to the United States.

His speech follows a meeting this week in which the president discussed immigration reform with grass-roots leaders.

He said then he wants to see a bipartisan process for immigration reform based on a proposal presented in the Senate. The plan addresses the need to secure the border and demands accountability from both workers who are in the United States illegally and employers who take advantage of the system, the White House said.

True border security requires comprehensive immigration reform, Obama said.

The president also reiterated his views this week against the recently passed immigration law in Arizona, which the Justice Department is reviewing.

"From our meeting, it is clear that the president is committed to comprehensive immigration reform and understands that congressional action is needed urgently," said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum and a meeting attendee.

Other topics discussed at the meeting included concerns that the grass-roots leaders had about reforms to current detention and deportation procedures, Noorani said.

CNN's Dana Bash contributed to this report

Unidos Venceremos! United We Will Win!
~Peta-de-Aztlan~ Sacramento, California, Amerika
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
make violent revolution inevitable."
~ President John F.Kennedy ~ Killed November 22, 1963

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