April 9th, 2009
07:30 PM ET
9 years ago

WH won't push immigration issue this year

The White House has made no secret of the fact that the President wants to see health care and energy reform passed this year.

The White House has made no secret of the fact that the President wants to see health care and energy reform passed this year.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Multiple Obama administration officials tell CNN that the White House is not pushing to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year. While it's a top priority for the President's first term, White House spokesperson Nick Shapiro says "the president has consistently said that he wants to start the discussion later this year because our immigration system is broken…but the economy comes first."

The White House has made no secret of the fact that the President wants to see health care and energy reform passed this year, and would be loathe to cripple those efforts with a fight over an issue as controversial as immigration reform. And White House strategists have to be keenly aware of the possible impact on House Democrats from red districts.

But the mood on Capitol Hill could be different.

Jim Manley, Sen. Harry Reid's senior communications advisor, tells CNN that the Majority Leader "intends to try to take comprehensive immigration reform to the floor later this year, probably in the fall." The situation in the House is trickier – a vote on the hot-button issue could hurt freshman Democrats who were elected in swing districts.
But House Democrats were presented with compelling evidence that voters want to see them trying to fix the immigration system. During the House Democrats' February retreat, Pete Brodnitz - who works for the same firm that does polling for the president - argued that Democratic House members should promote their own immigration reform plans.

"The downturn in the economy has not weakened the case for comprehensive reform and has the potential to strengthen the case for it," Brodnitz argued. He added that Democrats must take a lead because "the problem won't go away as long as the GOP continues to raise it" and that because Democrats run Congress and the White House that "makes us increasingly accountable for results."

Among the polling data he cited: 47 percent of voters believe that solving the issue of immigration should be a high priority for the Democratic Congress. Eighty percent of swing district voters say illegal immigration is a serious problem and more than half (57 percent) of swing district voters believe that immigration reform was not discussed enough during the election.

Brodnitz told House Democrats that his polling showed two thirds of voters believe immigrants who are not here legally "should become legal taxpayers and pay their fair share." He argued that "candidates who offer solutions to this problem can find that is an advantage – not just despite the economy but because of the economy."

Still, the White House insists the New York Times story on immigration "isn't news." Administration officials point out the president previously told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce that he's always planned to start discussions on immigration reform this year.

Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Matt

    Don't worry you illegals Obama made sure you will get a tax rebate for the taxes you did not pay in the Stimulus Bill. Free money paid for by hard working Americans currently out of work. Thanks Barack.

    April 9, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. ray ray

    Why should Obama do anything about illegal immigrants this year?

    The Democrats objective is to gut the remaining laws on illegal immigation. Pelosi says it's "Un-American" to arrest illegal immigrants. Democrats in Congress are using the DOJ to prosecute Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

    His crime? Joe rounds up and detains illegal immigrants.

    April 9, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Roland

    NO more amnesty for illegal immigrants in this country. Our elected officals are out of their mind's and will bankrupt this country and its health care system if "We The People" allow this to happen. I don't know about where you live but in California the street corners are filled with illegal immigrants taking American jobs in times of a job crisis in this country does not make sense. All American's should be outraged with our governments policy on immigration because it effects all American's.

    April 9, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. fred

    or any year for that matter

    April 9, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Lynn

    So once again the mdeia jumps on rumor and so called "sources. Blitzer ranting on and on that it was too much and Dobbs starting his usual socalled "independent" ranting.

    What has happened to NEWS in America...all it is is media induced controversy, slamming anything that is proposed and inflating opposition.

    What happened to world news?? Not told from some pundits prespective, but solid, objective reporting??

    April 9, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. Ernesto

    It would be nice if someone, sometime decided to take control of our borders. The Republicans and Democrats seem equally reluctant, inept and fearful of enforcing the immigration laws. In the meantime, we have millions of new residents breaking the laws of our country by their presence here. Perhaps Mr. Obama will do the right thing and turn off the longtime "WELCOME" sign. The emergency rooms have become the health care of choice and the illegals are choking the small communities across America.

    April 9, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. Barbara

    Please don't let the illegals gain permanent entry into this country. I didn't like the idea when President Bush brought it up and I haven't changed my mind.

    April 9, 2009 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  8. That One Guy

    Just don't give them amnisty(sp?). Make them go threw the same loops as everyone else.

    April 9, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  9. ME IN FL

    Immigration is an issue that has to be dealt with more sooner than later. Regarding a comprehensive reform , the only one that I can understand is sending all the illegal immigrants back and if they want to enter the country to do it according to the law through the proper channels just as others before them have done. To give them a break is to reward them for their lawless behavior. Let us not forget who it taking away our jobs and stealing our identities!!

    April 9, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  10. Roland

    It truly is amazing that our country is sliding down hill and the unemployment rate is sky rocketing our health care programs are a disaster and we want to give 12 million immigrants amnesty, is our government crazy are the American people crazy for allowing our elected officals to destroy this country by over extening our policies beyond what it can handle. We are crazy as a nation by allowing this type of behavior to continue.

    April 9, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. lucy

    ANd meanwhile yet another Republican (Stephen King) has attacked the plan and called it dangerous – before he even knows what it says! Just keep saying NO, boys, and soon there won't be a Republican party to worry about.

    April 9, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. John

    Immigration reform is a vital issue in the United States today, I support the White House to work on reforming immigration law
    Livermore Ca

    April 9, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  13. Erika, KS

    Don't reward illegal behavior. No one, regardless of how long they've been here, deserves to be rewarded by getting legal status if they got here by illegal means. Period. Enough of this already.

    April 9, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  14. Rob from Pa

    What ? Wee need to do something, but not this year. This issue is more pressing than Healthcare alone. You install mor access to healthcare ane there is more incnetive for illegals. Why is commeon sense so lacking in Washington?

    April 9, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  15. phoenix86

    Here it comes.....wait for it.....AMNESTY

    April 9, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  16. No Incumbents 2010

    We haven't for years, why start now?

    April 9, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  17. Albo58

    We the People do not want immigration reform. We want the immigration laws enforced to the letter! The Dimwits need to quit "counting the votes" of illegals and follow the will of the People, the tax-paying, law-abidding CITIZENS of this country!

    April 9, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  18. chicken

    the issue is as bad as the other issues

    health care



    the list from the mess Bush left is huge, what a nightmare he is and was

    April 9, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  19. MikefromWV

    I'm all for "legal" immigration - but am also dead set AGAINST "illegal" immigration and illegal immigrants. Growing up in Southern California, I can attest to the devastating impact illegal immigrants have had on the California economy and budget. Having to provide illegals free medical care, food stamps, subsidized housing and schooling is just plain not right. I have no sympathy for illegals with children who end up being separated when one or more of the parents are caught up in ICE raids. When they illegally entered our country, they knew there would always be the possibility of their being caught and deported. It's unfortunate for the children, but it's not our fault or responsibility. I saw the last "comprehensive" immigration reform bill. What a joke! Just one example – requiring illegals to undergo a background check, but only allowing 24 hours for the check to be performed. Allowing gang members to become citizens, etc.

    April 9, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  20. sandy

    I just hope that when they look at immigration reform, they remember to put the American people first as far as jobs, etc. This country is in really bad shape and I for one do not want to be unemployed while an immigrant who is given an amnesty of sorts is working. If this happens in this country, I think you will see real Americans revolt. So, I hope this is tackled with a lot of thought.

    April 9, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  21. Curled up in a ball

    99% of Americans want to fix ILLEGAL immigration fixed first ! The politicians work for us.

    April 9, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  22. Shawn

    I think President Obama needs to rethink his immigration polices, first they are breaking the law by being here illegally, they are taking jobs from legal American citizens, they are using our overburdened taxpayer payed government assistance programs, and how much money are they sending to their home of origin that is not going to be used to stimulate the US economy.

    April 9, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  23. Capt. SNarKy

    We need to curb this illegal immigration. We have a legal process already in place, for individuals who wish to emmigrate to the U.S. These laws need to be respected and enforced. We need to make the E-Verify system mandatory – in EVERY state. This will eliminate the major incentive for persons who bypass the legal process by illegally entering our country. Those hiring illegals, need to be prosecuted, too. And the persons proven illegal should be deported.

    This isn't something that can be swept under the rug like it has been for the past umpteen years. We need to deal with it NOW.

    April 9, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  24. JP

    We should adopt Mexico's policy on immigration. Do a google search and see how they handle their southern border. We should do the same with our southern border.

    April 9, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  25. John H.

    Any politician that pushes for granting illegal immigrants a shortcut path to becoming a U.S. citizen loses my vote forever. On a similar vein, why does the United States allow such a tremendous influx of immigrants anyway? Are we trying to catch China as the most populated country? Our infrastructure is overloaded, schools overpopulated, taxes outrageous, and our citizens extremely unemployed. Again, why are we allowing ANY immigration into this country. SHUT IT OFF! We are a country sinking with overpopulation!

    April 9, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
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