Obama Wants Congress to Act on Immigration
A week after he released the order to stop deportation of immigrant youth, President Barack Obama told Latino leaders Friday to urge Congress to change the immigration system. He gave a defense of his recent actions with regards to immigration.
The president said that congressional Republicans blocked his DREAM Act, which forced him to issue the directive to temporarily stop deportation. He wants to give hope to children who were brought in the United States through illegal means.
The president accused the Republicans of playing politics with immigration reform and failing to act on the DREAM Act, which was once supported by both parties. The measure would give citizenship for illegal immigrant children who entered the country before the age of 16 and attended college or served in the military.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was halfheartedly applauded for his alternative immigration strategy last Thursday. This was the opposite of what Obama received. The president praised Latinos for their contributions and resilience that he said was part of the American heritage.
Obama’s speech came before the Supreme Court releases its decision on Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law that was opposed by Obama administration and hailed by the conservatives. The ruling is expected to be released next week.
As a reference to the upcoming Supreme Court decision, Obama said that the lack of immigration reform has resulted in state laws that create more problems rather than present solutions. Before the president took the stage, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida told the NALEO luncheon that both parties failed to reach a compromise on immigration reform.
Rubio said Republicans and Democrats see the immigration issue as a powerful political tool to raise money and get votes. Immigrant rights groups seemed to agree with the senator. The National Immigration Forum Action Fund said that Congress must get past politics and follow the vision of the president in order to formulate a system that serves both young and old.