Obama: willing to work with House on immigration reform

WASHINGTON Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:37pm EDT

A woman holds a cluster of U.S. flags during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Oakland, California August 13, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

A woman holds a cluster of U.S. flags during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Oakland, California August 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he could support the House of Representatives taking a piece-by-piece approach to changing immigration policy as long as key elements such as a "pathway to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants were included.

The White House had hoped a broad bill to reform immigration rules would be the president's signature achievement this year, but the effort has stalled in the House after passing with bipartisan support in the Senate.

In an interview with Noticias Telemundo, Obama said he could back efforts in the House to advance elements of immigration reform one at a time - rather than all at once as the Senate did - as long as all of his priorities were part of the outcome.

"I'm happy to let the House work its will as long as the bill that ends up on my desk speaks to the central issues that have to be resolved," he said, citing his priorities of stronger border security, penalties for employers who take advantage of undocumented workers, and a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are in the country illegally.

"If those elements are contained in a bill, whether they come through the House a little bit at a time or they come in one fell swoop ... I'm less concerned about process, I'm more interested in making sure it gets done," he said.

Advocates are reluctant to support a piece-by-piece approach out of concern that the elements most popular among Republicans, such as tougher border security, would be passed while the pathway to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants would not.

A spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican, welcomed Obama's comments.

"If immigration reform is going to work, it is essential that we have the confidence of the American people that it's done the right way," said Brendan Buck. "That means a deliberate, step-by-step approach, not another massive Obamacare-style bill that people don't understand."

Obama urged Boehner to bring the issue to a vote. The White House believes enough Democrats would support reform efforts to make up for the Republicans, who have a majority in the chamber, who would oppose it.

Boehner does not want to bring the issue to the floor of the House without the support of a majority of his fellow Republicans.

"We've got a majority of members of Congress, Democrats and some Republicans, in the House of Representatives, who would vote for it right now if it hits," Obama said.

Obama said it was "not an option" for his administration to freeze deportations of undocumented immigrants while waiting for immigration reform to pass. The president has come under sharp criticism from activists for presiding over high numbers of deportations despite his support for reform.

If the House were to pass one bill or several bills reforming U.S. immigration laws, that could trigger a formal negotiation between the House and the Senate, which in June passed a comprehensive measure including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented U.S. residents.

In that case, a group of House and Senate negotiators would attempt to come up with one bill that could pass both chambers and be signed into law by Obama. But many conservative House Republicans, who oppose a comprehensive immigration bill, are reluctant to get into such a negotiation with the Senate, fearing they could be cornered into backing the pathway to citizenship.

(Additional reporting by Richard Cowan,; editing by Jackie Frank)

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Comments (4)
AdamSmith wrote:
The Senate, as individuals and as a group, have sold their souls to big money. What about the President?

President Obama’s largest contributor in his first presidential campaign was Goldman Sachs. Yes. He still yearns to be a member of their social class, so he serves the Goldman class rather than the American middle class.

Immigration is destroying the American middle class.

Labor, like any economic resource, obeys the law of supply and demand. If you dump labor into a market, it drives down the wage-rate.

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.

Immigration over the past 12 years caused more destruction of the American middle class than any other factor.

All other nations in the world, COMBINED, do not allow the levels of immigration that America is experiencing. It is the largest movement of human beings in the history of the world.

America’s leaders are criminals for allowing it to happen. And that includes the current senators and President. They are both owned by the wealthy class and multinational corporations.

The real question is, Why does American even have a military when we allow foreign nations to invade us by immigration?

America is being invaded by not just Mexico, but all the highly populated nations on Earth. They are invading not just across the desert border with Mexico, but also right into the airports of all major American cities.

Largest Countries ranked by population:

1. China 1.3 billion people
2. India 1.2 billion
3. United States 315 million (US rapid overcrowding is due to immigration)
4. Indonesia 237 million
5. Brazil 193 million
6. Pakistan 182 million
7. Nigeria 166 million
8. Bangladesh 152 million
9. Russia 143 million
10.Japan 127 million
11.Mexico 112 million
12.Phillipines 92 million

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population

Sep 17, 2013 8:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Des3Maisons wrote:
Rewarding illegal aliens with a “pathway to citizenship” for breaking the law cannot, under any circumstances, be considered “reform”. Handing greedy Corporate America cheap foreign labor so they can replace American middle class jobs cannot, under any circumstances, be considered “reform”. The immigration bill that came out of the Senate is all about putting more money into the pockets of Corporate America at the expense of the middle class.

Sep 18, 2013 6:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
actnow wrote:
Keep flooding your House Rep with phone calls at 202 224-3121 (program it into your cell and call weekly) to stop the amnesty nightmare that will destroy our middle and lower classes, tax payers, democracy and environment. Only a continual mass outpouring of passionate voices will stop this pending destruction of our nation (as it did in 2007). If only half of those claiming the oppose this nightmare would get into this fight it would be over in a month. Make your voice heard…the fight is NOW. Numbersusa dot com is a great website too. Be a part of the solution. Call now.

Sep 18, 2013 9:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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