Obama says no to immigration without citizenship path
July 16th, 2013
07:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama says no to immigration without citizenship path

Updated at 9:52 a.m. ET on 7/17

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama said Tuesday an immigration reform bill without a path to citizenship for those in the United States illegally "does not make sense."

"It does not make sense to me, if we're gonna make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix the system, to leave the status of 11 million people or so unresolved," Obama said in an interview with a Telemundo-owned TV station in Denver.

Such a plan, he said, would run counter to American values.

"It's not who we are as Americans," Obama said, according to a transcript of the interview. "That's never been our tradition."

The president conducted interviews with four Spanish-language television stations Tuesday as part of the White House's push for immigration. While a comprehensive plan passed in the Senate in June, it has yet to be considered in the House, where leaders have advocated a piecemeal approach to reform of late. But the president warned against tackling the effort in stages, where there could be a "tendency I think to put off the hard stuff until the end."

"If you've eaten your dessert before you've eaten your meal, at least with my children, sometimes they don't end up eating their vegetables," Obama told a Telemundo-owned station in Dallas, according to the transcript. "We need to, I think, do this as a complete package."

Although the president acknowledged a bill is unlikely to pass before the August Congressional recess, he said he's hopeful a bill will pass by the fall.

But the politics of that, he said, are difficult, especially for Republican House members, many of whom are facing a difficult reality in their home districts.

"I know it's tough, I know the Republican House members are wrestling with it," Obama said. "Many of their constituents are suspicious of this, suspicious of what immigration might mean for their political future in some cases."

Obama said he believes the Senate-passed bill would clear the House if brought to the floor now, but put the onus on House Republicans who he said "still have to process this issue and discuss it further."

House Speaker John Boehner has said he will not allow a vote on the bill unless it is backed by the majority of the Republican conference. The president asked Republicans to show "leadership."

"If we can see some leadership from members of the Republican Party, some of whom I disagree with on a lot of issues, but you know who do seem to recognize this is the right thing to do for the country … eventually we'll get something passed out of the House," Obama said.

Filed under: Immigration • Latinos • President Obama • White House
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. common sense

    Illegal means illegal,we elected our leaders to protect our borders,if anything they are all guilty of derelict of duty and trying to cover it up with immigration reform.

    July 16, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |

    We have lot to do recover the prestige of our country back by working on everything together and not politically motivated. It's time for Prsident, democrats, republicans, senate, house all to think about America and resolve the issues quickly and move forward for to solve the next one. But it seems like nothing is getting done and everybody is looking for their own interest instead of the country's interest. One thing I agree with Pesident is there is no reason to do a immigration reform without a path of legalization at the same time it's also to look for that the rules gets implemented so another 11 millions undocumented does not accumulate in coming years. What's John Beihner is afraid of debate and vote in the house if he things majority of the Republican in the house don't want the bill. Lets vote and get it done with and move on to something important also for America instead of dragging everything too long and doing nothing. Like the gun law didn't pass let the same thing happen to immigration and prove what the majority of American want and move on.

    July 16, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. Jaime

    I just do not understand it. The path to citizenship already exists but it begins with legal residency. The issue here I believe is one of legal residence which will include several elements to be addressed to get on that path to citizenship . I have known many undocumented students and parents and I can say honestly that not everyone desires citizenship. They want to be in the country legally. They want the ability to travel back and forth between US and Mexico, they want to stay with their children and grandchildren in the US. They want legal status and once that is earned then those who desire citizenship can begin the process.

    Another thing I do not get is why the focus seems to be only on our southern border with Mexico and not a word regarding the northern border, not a word regarding the significant number of undocumented who entered the United States legally but just overstayed their visa and did not depart. What about those issues? Why only the emphasis on the southern border? I sense that I know why but sure would like to hear others point of view.

    July 16, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. DaveinNC

    First secure the border then start the path to citizenship. If my pipes are leaking I shut off the water before I start worrying about anything else.

    July 16, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. rla

    To the rest of the country it dose make sense and is FAIR something you throw around... It is fair to citizens and those doing it right... I don't TRUST you or anything the democrats do...... Fool me once but not again

    July 16, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    So I guess he really did want amnesty. That's a huge surprise (NOT).

    July 16, 2013 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  7. Teamchaos

    Let them walk the path back to Mexico. Prove you move this country join the military that is the fastest way to get us citizenship

    July 16, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  8. S. B. Stein

    There needs to be some serious penalties. I don't like the automatic citizenship. I would prefer something like these people don't get the right to vote. The adults that came here illegally knowing the rules shouldn't get that cherished right to vote. Those children who were brought here when they were young or those were trafficked for whatever reason should be on a path to get the right to vote. There is a difference.

    July 16, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. simplefaith

    Why does the GOP in the House always have to make it so hard to agree with anything that will be good for the American people. Please voters get these GOP party poopers out of the House of Representatives.when election time comes around.

    July 16, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  10. U.S. Citizen

    Doling out Citizenship based upon Legislative or Executive decree is not Justice.

    July 16, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. psmith

    I support Obama on some issues and voted for his re-election. This issue I do not support. These "illegals" have come to America ILLEGALLY. To allow citizenship would mean this is tolerable and to not be condemned. I'm sure this is a ploy for the democrats to receive more votes, which they really do not need.

    July 16, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  12. Dixie

    And our comprihensive health plan is working out soooo well.

    July 16, 2013 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  13. Flagship, NC

    Obama is correct. Anything else would be neglecting the real issue.

    July 16, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  14. Bill from GA

    Like our President, I'm all for a path to Citizenship. Except that I think the path starts in the country they came from, at the back of the line.

    July 16, 2013 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  15. Donald Berrian

    The bill includes "guest worker" provisions that bring workers in for years so their employers can avoid paying competitive wages and provide no "path to citizenship". If the President is serious, he should threaten to veto any bill with a "guest worker" provision. Otherwise, he is just playing politics.

    July 16, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  16. Prince Ade

    It is unAmerica not to treat immigrants as fellow human beings that deserve to live wherever to choose to. Americans are known to be humane, Americans are known to be accommodating, America is the only Country on Earth that has human feeling. It is the Nation under the Sun that is highly populated with diverse people of different lineage and ancestry. While then does it take or difficult for you to absorb your fellow human beings. Republicans you are charting a new direction of wickedness that is alien to American Culture. Pass this immigration bill and Let GOD of creation bless you the more

    July 16, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  17. Gary Gnu

    How about a faster path to citizenship for those still on waiting lists wanting to "legally" come into the US?

    July 17, 2013 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  18. josh malibu

    Eleven million illegal reside in this place we call home. This place we call America. The home of opportunity for all. The home of freedom. Are there eleven million illegals who desire to stay or is part of that number impartial to the constitution and requirements that unnaturlized citizens must have acquired upon the pronouncement of legal citizenship? Deportation seems harsh especially for families that have grown since residing here. A resolution could include incentives for those who wish to cooperate. Executive order. English speaking, children in schools, wait...are there classes they have to go establishing knowledge of The Bill of Rights, and how democracy works, voting, and paying taxes and tax reliefs? All which can be taking via waiting list at your local library. They dont all have to go back do they? This is America. Josh Malibu

    July 17, 2013 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  19. dumbdem

    Before a path to citizenship is established, I think Obama needs to come clean and admit that there are millions more illegals in our country, and allowing all of them citizenship will bankrupt our great country.

    July 17, 2013 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  20. Solomon

    I hope you're right, Mr. President. You promised immigration reform in 2008. Now it's time to deliver that promise and I hope the Republicans are willing to come together and to help you fulfill that promise.

    July 17, 2013 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  21. dil

    Without resolving the status?!!
    Their status is "illegal" and that's it! Using skilled immigration as a shield to let these millions on welfare is treason

    July 17, 2013 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  22. global policy researchg


    July 17, 2013 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  23. surv'yr Joshua Akin oladele a C.E.O/M.D Geomatic Engineer/Gis specialist at Akin oladele&Associate,

    is ok, i love dat

    July 17, 2013 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  24. mohamed conteh

    i buy the idea of the president

    July 17, 2013 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  25. Nate

    We already tried amnesty once before. The only way to fix the system is to offer many more work visas. If you are caught here illegally you are fingerprinted and can never become a US citizen. If you do not pay taxes when you have a work visa, then you lose it the next year.

    July 17, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
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