Obama warns U.S. not to "demagogue" immigration

WASHINGTON Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:36pm EDT

President Barack Obama speaks about the economy in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington July 19, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing

President Barack Obama speaks about the economy in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington July 19, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned U.S. leaders not to use the divisive issue of illegal immigration as a way to gain power and name recognition in an interview with CBS television released on Saturday.

Fresh from a court victory that blocked provisions of a tough Arizona immigration law that Obama opposed, the president warned politicians not to "demagogue" the topic and said his administration wanted to work with Arizona on the issue.

Earlier this week a judge blocked key parts of the border state's tough new immigration law hours before it was to take effect, handing a victory to Obama's administration, which is trying to take control of the issue.

One blocked provision would have required police officers to determine the immigration status of a person detained or arrested if an officer believed the individual was not in the country legally.

The state is appealing the court's ruling.

"We want to work with Arizona. I understand the frustration of people in Arizona. But what we can't do is demagogue the issue," Obama said in an interview with CBS, according to excerpts released by the network.

"And what we can't do is allow a patchwork of 50 different states, or cities or localities, where anybody who wants to make a name for themselves suddenly says, 'I'm going to be anti-immigrant and I'm going try to see if I can solve the problem ourself.' This is a national problem," Obama said.

Immigration is a flashpoint between Republicans and Democrats ahead of November elections, which could change the balance of power in the U.S. Congress. Attempts to overhaul the U.S. immigration system have failed previously, most recently in 2007 when Republicans torpedoed reforms pushed by George W. Bush, then the Republican president.

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Comments (86)
ARJTurgot wrote:
This is a national problem that is not being addressed at a national level because the Democrats hope to pick up the votes of the people granted amnesty. Write an amnesty proposal that precludes citizenship and voting rights as the penalty for breaking the law during immigration and I guarantee there will be many Dems out demagogueing.

Jul 31, 2010 6:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Trooth wrote:
Conservatives did protest the amnesty bill Bush, McCain, and Graham were trying to pass. You should pay more attention to what is actually going on rather than listening to the talking points of your comedian/news anchors.

Jul 31, 2010 7:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
candi151 wrote:
First of all Bill bill wasn’t an Amnesty bill, it was an Immigration bill, there’s a difference Why did Conservation protest this Bush’s Immigration bill? This is part of what Bush’s bill contained:
“The immigration legislation would allow most of the illegal immigrants in the United States to qualify for a “Z” visa, to be renewed every two years; strengthen border security and enforcement; establish a temporary worker program for at least 200,000 people; fine employers who hire illegal immigrants; and create a new system for legal-resident (”green card”) applications.” Yet the Conservatives voted against it. And you should stop listening to your right wing propaganda faux news.

Jul 31, 2010 7:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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