Obama tackles immigration in Texas
May 10th, 2011
06:33 AM ET

Obama tackles immigration in Texas

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When President Obama heads to El Paso,Texas Tuesday he’ll be pushing comprehensive immigration reform and calling on Congress for a bi-partisan effort to fix the problem.

“He’s going to make the case that legislation is the root to reform here and to press for legislative action,” said one of three senior administration officials who briefed reporters ahead of the president’s trip.

The president is expected to call for action “as soon as possible,” the officials said, but he won’t lay down a deadline.

While officials admit that there are “significant obstacles” in a divided Congress, they said that inaction is not an option.

“We do not accept the argument that since there are some in Congress that are unwilling to act that we outta just wash our hands of trying to get this done.”

President Obama made immigration a centerpiece of his 2008 campaign. He promised  reform and told Hispanic groups that he would “make it a top priority” in his first year  as president.

But so far he has failed to move this issue in a meaningful way.

“We weren’t able to achieve it in the first part of this term,” admitted White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Last week, after a meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the White House said in a statement that the president would “intensify efforts to lead a civil debate on this issue in the coming weeks and month.”

Ali Noorani, executive director of National Immigration Forum, said despite cynicism in Washington, there’s mounting pressure -from the immigrant community and business community-on both Democrats and Republicans to resolve the immigration problem.

“What remains to be seen is what is possible. Politics is the art of the possible and I think the president is leaning into this issue."

Looming over this issue is the 2012 election.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows the president's approval rating among Hispanics has dropped since early in his administration. It now stands at 68% compared to 76% from April to June 2009.

“The president needs the Hispanic vote as much as the Republicans need it,” Noorani said.

During his visit to El Paso, the president is expected to tour a cargo facility, get an update on security at the Southwest border, and talk about successful efforts to pump more resources into the region and seize contraband, the officials said.

“The border is as secure as it has ever been,” said a senior administration official.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday that comprehensive immigration reform remained a “priority of the president.”

While Carney refused to predict the odds of legislation passing Congress, he said the administration was optimistic.

“He takes on hard things because he believes they’re important to get done.”

###


Topics: Immigration • President Obama • The News

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Brittanicus

    Taxpayer must take their Politicians to task whether federal or State, by calling their offices as soon as possible at Senate—202-224–3121/ House—202-225–3121 or locate these lawmakers in your phone directory blue pages. The TEA PARTY will nurture new candidates for the 2012 Election. The TEA PARTY will give no leeway to any form of Immigration Reform—AMNESTY. The TEA PARTY is determined stop the drain of taxpayers’ money, which includes unfair taxes to support the instant citizenship of babies, through entering America illegally to foster welfare advantage. The TEA PARTY will rescind Chain Migration, which is a very large billion dollar expenditure, if sponsors don’t honor financial support for immediate family members. Legislators have a duty to mandate E-Verify, Secure Communities and 287G and make it impossible for illegal foreigners to get employment, or even get a handhold in America.

    The TEA PARTY will dismantle Sanctuary City policies, the educational dream Act and unseat all pro-illegal immigrant Lawmakers, Governors, Mayors and those involved in this travesty. The second revolution has begun by THE TEA PARTY that will condemn any more free giveaways to illegal aliens. The American People are the Tea Party, comprising of every legal nationality and race. You should join this splinter party from the wilting RINO Republicans, who with Democrats are eroding this countries greatness. Highly skilled workers should be given immediate special entry visas, who have positions in reputable companies; these top of the cream individuals, will cost taxpayers nothing. Currently however, some plausible 20 million foreign aliens are indigent and replaced by American-legal resident low educated, minimum wage labor who should receive absolute priority.
    YOU! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE OUT THERE ARE THE TEA PARTY AND UNITED, WE HAVE ALL THE POWER AGAINST BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. WE WILL STOP THE INCESSANT SPENDING. THEY WILL CUT GOVERNMENT AND RID OURSELVES OF ALL THE FEDERAL AGENCIES, WHICH SHOULD BE ADMINISTERED BY THE 50 STATES. WE WILL CUT THE 14.5 TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT. WE WILL DRILL FOR OIL IN AMERICA AND ESCAPE FOREIGN EXPENSES. WE WILL RENEGOTIATE THE UNFAIR TRADE TREATIES WITH CHINA, AND OTHER FOREIGN COUNTIES. CUT ALL TAX SUBSIDIES FOR OIL, ETHANOL AND THOUSANDS MORE INDUSTRIAL ENTITIES. WE WILL BUILD THE REAL BORDER FENCE.

    Attn: Donate to Arizona's border fence, by just typing in to Google: Arizona Governor Brewer. There must be further mandatory oversight of one election process, as there was rampant fraud in 3 States and the administration is unconcerned about future voting by illegal aliens.

    May 10, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  2. cos690

    It is hard to believe that the US border is secure. I guess the president can say this since he only wants to hear if illegal felons are caught but then there is the question; If you are in the country illegally, doesn't that make you a criminal? So, shouldn't all illegals be considered criminals since they have broken the laws of the United States? This is the reason that the illegal immigrants are called undocumented workers, same thing – different name. It is like communism and progressive, same thing – different name.
    There have been more people killed in the border area of Mexico in the last four years then in the war zone of Afghanistan in the last five years but our borders are secure even if the illegals are capping US border agents. The US should secure its borders and deport the illegal criminal aliens that are currently in the country, do not give them a court date but escort them to Mexico City and wish them good luck.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  3. Immigrant

    All they talk about is illegal immigrants. WHAT ABOUT LEGAL IMMIGRANTS, WHO ARE WAITING IN THE LINE FOR YEARS, PAYING TAXES.

    May 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm |