Obama pushes Congress on immigration, split emerges

LAS VEGAS,  (Reuters) – President Barack Obama pushed Congress yesterday to overhaul the U.S. immigration system but disagreement with Republicans over securing the border with Mexico has already begun to sour bipartisan efforts.

“We need Congress to act on a comprehensive approach that finally deals with the 11 million undocumented immigrants,” Obama said at a high school in Las Vegas.

After years on the back burner, immigration reform has suddenly looked possible as Republicans, chastened by Latino voters who rejected them in the November election, look more kindly on an immigration overhaul.

Obama spoke a day after a group of influential Senate Democrats and Republicans laid out a broad plan of their own that is similar to White House immigration proposals.

But differences quickly emerged between what Obama would like and the proposals by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators.

While the senators’ plan insists on first toughening border security before allowing illegal immigrants to take steps to gain citizenship, the Obama plan does not.

That difference was enough to raise concerns among Republican lawmakers who are trying to frame a package that can pass the Republican-led House of Representatives. A Hispanic Republican, Senator Marco Rubio, warned Obama not to ignore his party’s concerns about border security.

“I think that would be a terrible mistake,” Rubio told Fox News. “We have a bipartisan group of senators that have agreed to that. For the president to try to move the goalposts on that specific requirement, as an example, does not bode well in terms of what his role’s going to be in this or the outcome.”

Under the Obama proposal, undocumented workers would be required to register, undergo national security and criminal background checks, pay fees and penalties, learn English and go to the back of the immigration line behind those who are applying to enter the country legally.

“We all agree these men and women should have to earn their way to citizenship. But for comprehensive immigration reform to work, it must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship,” Obama said.

However, Republicans will likely oppose any immigration plan that doesn’t put border security first.

“This provision is key to ensuring that border security is achieved, and is also necessary to ensure that a reform package can actually move through Congress,” said newly elected Senator Jeff Flake of the border state of Arizona.

More in World News


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning:

Most Read This Week

  1. Convicted drug trafficker Barry Dataram about to be handed over to local enforcement officials by the Suriname police. Inset is the information page in the fake passport for “David Persaud” that was being used by the fugitive. (Royston Drakes photos)

    Dataram, wife returned to Guyana

  2. Back in court: In this Keno George composite photo, Barry Dataram (left) and his wife Anjanie Boodnarine at court yesterday to answer three charges including fleeing the jurisdiction.

    Dataram to serve eight years in jail after guilty plea to new charges

  3. Yansen Brusche

    Ulverston mom of four stabbed to death by children’s father

  4. Ameer Subrati

    Man dies after bandits target overseas-based couple at Herstelling

  5. US Ambassador Perry Holloway and Finance Minister Winston Jordan shake hands after the signing of the agreement yesterday.

    Guyana inks pact for reporting to IRS on holdings of US citizens

  6. Updated: Man dies after bandits attack overseas-based Guyanese at Herstelling

  7. Barry Dataram

    Datarams getaway passports had been issued to other people

  8. Bharrat Jagdeo

    Crime has never been this bad – Jagdeo

  9. Dr. Prudence Lewis-Bhola

    Prudence Lewis-Bhola appointed as CEO of broadcasting authority

Recommended For You