Obama to launch immigration push in Nevada next week

WASHINGTON Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:41pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he delivers remarks on the economy to employees at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan, December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he delivers remarks on the economy to employees at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant in Redford, Michigan, December 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to launch his second-term push for a U.S. immigration overhaul during a visit to Nevada next week and will make it a high priority to win congressional approval of a reform package this year, the White House said on Friday.

Obama, who met leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, intends to use his trip to Las Vegas on Tuesday to "redouble our efforts to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

He said Obama's proposals would be based on a "blueprint" the president put forth in a 2011 policy speech he delivered near the U.S.-Mexico border. The administration never put much effort into turning that plan, which included a controversial path to "earned" citizenship, into legislation.

Immigration reform, largely sidelined by economic issues in Obama's first term, is part of an ambitious liberal agenda he laid out in his second inaugural address on Monday, which also includes gun control, gay rights and fighting climate change.

The chances of a bipartisan agreement to revamp the U.S. immigration system are looking brighter despite the strong political passions that surround the issue.

Obama wants a deal and so do many Republicans in Congress, after having seen Hispanics vote overwhelmingly for the president and his fellow Democrats in the November 6 election.

Republicans have begun softening their stance after the party alienated many Latinos with hard-line rhetoric on immigration during the election campaign. Obama's unsuccessful Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, caused a stir by advocating "self-deportation" of illegal immigrants.

Republicans in Arizona and other states in recent years have pushed through tough laws cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Since the election, Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, have quietly undertaken a bipartisan effort to craft a bill.

"We are encouraged by efforts under way in Congress to move forward on this issue, to address it in a bipartisan way," Carney told reporters. "It is certainly a top legislative priority for the president."

Carney said Obama would use his event in Las Vegas to push the broad proposals he laid out in May 2011. Nevada has a fast-growing Hispanic population that helped Obama carry the state in the November election.

RENEWING OBAMA BLUEPRINT

Obama's earlier plan, which he unveiled in El Paso, Texas, called for creating a path for some of the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States to earn citizenship.

Some Republicans have argued that would amount to amnesty, but administration officials have denied that, saying it would include fines, payment of back taxes, a lengthy probationary period and other hurdles to obtain legal status.

Obama's previous proposals also called for strict border enforcement, tough penalties for businesses that hire illegal workers and creation of a guest-worker program to meet agricultural labor needs.

Last summer, Obama took executive action so that the federal government stopped seeking to deport certain illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children - a dramatic change that was celebrated in the Hispanic community and seen as key to his re-election hopes that November.

After winning the bitterly fought election, he promised to tackle the issue comprehensively early in his new term.

Obama told Hispanic lawmakers on Friday, "There is no excuse for stalling or delay" on immigration legislation and promised to "move this debate forward at the earliest possible opportunity," according to a White House statement.

"The president will be traveling to Nevada on Tuesday to redouble the administration's efforts to work with Congress to fix the broken immigration system this year," the White House said. Obama has also promised specifics on immigration in his State of the Union address to Congress on February 12.

Representative Xavier Becerra of California, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said afterward: "Immigration reform is not a matter of 'if' but 'when.' Now is the time and this is our moment."

Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who has been part of Senate talks on immigration reforms, said Obama's leadership on the issue was essential.

"I applaud him for announcing his commitment at the very beginning of this term and hope that the bipartisan process that is ongoing in the Senate will lead us to passage of a bill he can sign," he said.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican often mentioned as a future presidential contender, has also begun drawing up his own set of proposals he hopes can appeal to conservatives. The White House has voiced interest in hearing more about his ideas.

Some political analysts have said Republicans must seize the chance to help achieve immigration reform or else forfeit the chance of gaining significant Latino electoral support for a generation or more.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (4)
AdamSmith wrote:
Immigration is destroying the American middle class.

Nature has not yet rescinded the Law of Supply and Demand.

The plain fact is that immigration into any modern country has two serious, lethal effects on the native-born citizens:
1. Immigration sharply drives down wage rates.
2. Immigration sharply drives up housing costs (rent rates).

Thus employers and landlords benefit from immigration.
Thus common workers are greatly harmed by immigration.

When immigration is unchecked, as it is today into the US, even the immigrants will soon find their own wage rates dropping because of immigrants arriving next year.

In the entire history of America there has never been immigration flows at the huge, uncontrolled level that is taking place today. The Irish, Italian and German immigrations to America were tiny compared to the immigration today. And back then America was building factories, not closing factories and outsourcing.

Today there are hundreds of millions of people in giant impoverished cities all over the world trying to move to wealthier countries. Impoverished people are seeking wealth, whether in America, Europe, Japan, Saudi Arabia — any developed country of wealth.

But it is only America who has dropped its defenses and simply allows itself to be overrun. All the other countries in the world, COMBINED, do not allow the immigration that comes into America. Those countries behave the way America behaved during most of its history — they do not allow immigration.

Today, America is completely controlled by big companies and landlords who grow wealthy from depressing wages and raising rents.

Why should America even have a military if it is going to allow foreigners by the millions to simply walk in and take its jobs and buy its real estate unhindered?

Immigration is destroying the American middle class.

Jan 25, 2013 4:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Lowell_Thinks wrote:
“La Reconquista” is almost complete. Gracias Mr. Presidente! Betrayal of the American people to get foreign voters is treason.

Jan 25, 2013 4:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
spca wrote:
after all this time and bla, bla, bla. does the word ILLEGAL only apply to some but not all. very confusing .

Jan 25, 2013 5:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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