Obama makes new pitch for immigration reform
May 13th, 2014
11:56 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama makes new pitch for immigration reform

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama renewed his push on Tuesday for House Republicans to approve most of what exists in the Senate-passed version of comprehensive immigration reform. But he signaled a willingness to compromise.

At an event with law enforcement officials, Obama said he was "not hell-bent" on seeing every word from the Senate version in any immigration bill that might reach his desk.

"But there are core principles that we have to get done," Obama added, noting his support for much of what the Senate approved last year, 68-32.

The bill "would give law enforcement a better idea of who's in the country," he said. "Public opinion is on our side."

Accusing a handful of House Republicans of "blocking" passage of a final reform bill, Obama said he wants to negotiate.

"If they've got ideas, I'm happy to talk," he said.

A White House official noted the Senate measure has the support of both Republicans and Democrats, as well as well-respected figures from business, religious and law enforcement communities.

Tuesday's meeting marked the first time Obama has sat down with law enforcement to make the case for immigration reform, the official said.

Obama aides believe House Speaker John Boehner has not closed the door on the Senate measure. So Obama is "still pushing," the official said.

The Senate approved the immigration reform bill last June, that was pushed by a bipartisan “Gang of Eight.”

The measure, which stalled in the House, includes an eventual pathway to citizenship for most undocumented immigrants, which is strongly opposed by many conservatives.

On Monday, Boehner acknowledged that he still faces resistance from a group of Republicans.

"I need to work with my colleagues and bring them along. And while I feel strongly about the need to deal with immigration reform, I have got to bring these members along," Boehner said at an event hosted by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

But a senior House Republican told CNN on Tuesday that "Speaker Boehner has been clearer than crystal many, many times that we are not taking up the 'Gang' bill, and we're not going to Conference on the Senate 'Gang' bill. It's deader than disco."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue said Monday that the GOP shouldn't field a presidential candidate in the next race if Congress fails to pass immigration reform this year.

"If the Republicans don't do it, they shouldn't bother to run a candidate in 2016," Donohue said, in an attention grabbing moment.

The chamber, which represents business interests, has made immigration reform a focus.

Donohue added that "we're absolutely crazy if we don't take advantage of having passed an immigration bill out of the Senate because going back and doing it again might be harder."

CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: 2014 • Immigration • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Tommy G

    The ONLY "reform" we need is a federal government that does its job and enforces the laws of this country. Why pass more laws that they will again refuse to enforce? This is all election year BS from Obama and the Democrats to distract from their 8 year record of failure and disaster, both at home and abroad. They want to talk about ANYTHING except their record of failure and lies.

    May 13, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. just asking

    how about approving the keystone pipeline and proving you care about jobs for americans?

    May 13, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. barryinlasvegas

    Obama keeps pushing for illegals instead of jobs. This issue is at the bottom of things the majority of Americans want Obama to be working on. Improving the economy so people can get good paying jobs are at the top of the list, but then they want someone who never had a real job to do something he knows nothing about.

    May 13, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. rla

    Obama –please stop calling it Immigration REFORM.... Let me point out that it properly should be called ripping off the middle class who will end up paying for this "REFORM" or Borrowing since we are broke or printing money (see above)... And it should have the hashtag # buying future democratic votes... All of the above is true and this administration is into ie number ???? of this buy the election cycle democratic style!!! Remember DETROIT!

    May 13, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. smith

    The GOP wanted the bill broke down into smaller bills If I was the Dems I would do this. If the GOP stalls on smaller bills then it shows the GOP is not willing to compromise with the Dems.

    May 13, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. Tony D

    I don't trust Obama to do ANYTHING at this point. The guy is a proven liar that has shown over and over that doing what is best for this country is not high on his agenda.

    May 13, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Would somebody have the strength to bring up the number one issue on the planet " OVER POPULATION " .

    And why aren't Immigrants choosing China or Russia as there new home land ?

    May 13, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  8. Tim

    Other than the 1% and illegal aliens, who is calling for MORE immigration? NOBODY.

    May 13, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Mr. President just say you're against it, they will trip over themselves to approve it.

    May 13, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    "I was a stranger & you did/did not welcome me". Matthew 25,35.

    May 13, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. rs

    just asking

    how about approving the keystone pipeline and proving you care about jobs for americans?
    Because the Keystone XL pipeline is a boondoggle that will result in only 54 full-time jobs, perhaps? It will also likely leak tar sands oil (that the oil industry to date does not know how to clean up) on some of the most pristine land in America whose land owners don't want.

    As to the vote- well, the GOP in the Senate screwed that up didn't they?

    May 13, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Warren

    Tommy G
    "their 8 year record of failure and disaster" Are you living under a rock?? Dow, NASDAQ and S&P all at record highs. Housing almost back too where it was. Just think were we might be, had it not been for a bunch of idiots (Republicans) obstructing any and everything just so that this President was a one term President.. How did that work out for you..

    May 13, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    You guys need to put the blame on the do nothing Republican Majority Congress. They are the ones NOT doing their jobs. There have been proposals & they shot them down one by one, yet they propose nothing!!! Go figure....

    May 13, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Claude

    I say, no immigration "reforms" until the illegal immigrants currently living in our country are dealt with under the provisions of our current laws.

    May 13, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. just asking

    sonny chapman
    "I was a stranger & you did/did not welcome me". Matthew 25,35.

    we do... at the front door, legally, millions every year. not illegally invading our country, then demanding reward for it.

    as usual though, the left trying to use religion for their political goals when it is convenient. then they go back to using the bible to call religious people bigots. dishonest & duplicitous.

    May 13, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Thomas

    To Marco Rubio ,
    New research shows a major section of west Antarctica's ice sheet will completely melt in coming centuries and probably raise sea levels higher than previously predicted, revealing another impact from the world's changing climate.

    May 13, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. Mike mc

    The chamber of commerce are a greedy bunch , it's all about cheep labor , and to hell with America. , this country is so devided , I think it's beyond repair , I hear from a lot of people that the country is gone and just let it burn to the ground , know it's going to become a 3 rd world shit hole. , be prepaired , the forces of evil are very stong ,

    May 13, 2014 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Deportation: More Obama LIES

    Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged Tuesday that his department’s deportation numbers are now mostly made up of illegal immigrants caught at the border, not just those from the interior, which means they can’t be compared one-to-one with deportations under President Bush or other prior administrations.

    The administration has argued it is tougher on illegal immigration than previous presidents, and immigrant-rights groups have excoriated President Obama, calling him the “deporter-in-chief” for having kicked out nearly 2 million immigrants during his five-year tenure.

    But Republican critics have argued those deportation numbers are artificially inflated because more than half of those being deported were new arrivals, caught at the border by the U.S. Border Patrol. Previous administrations primarily counted only those caught in the interior of the U.S. by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    “Under the Obama administration, more than half of those removals that were attributed to ICE are actually a result of Border Patrol arrests that wouldn’t have been counted in prior administrations,” said Rep. John Culberson, Texas Republican.

    “Correct,” Mr. Johnson confirmed.

    That would mean that in a one-to-one comparison with the final years of the Bush administration, deportations of those same people under Mr. Obama had actually fallen, according to immigration analysts who have studied the data.

    In 2013, ICE was responsible for about 133,000 of the 368,000 immigrants removed. The Washington Times calculated that meant a less than 1 percent risk of an illegal immigrant living in the interior of the U.S. being deported.

    May 13, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Chris-E...al

    Why would any republican work with the dems on anything look at all the job killers they they have birthed out of that wore out hole they have made for us all us to fall in ?

    May 13, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Mason

    Pitch all you want to but its not going anywhere.

    May 13, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. sonny chapman

    When the Chamber of Commerce & the Gospels of Jesus agree, DO IT ! The Moral Thing to do is almost always the Smart Thing to do. It's called, Following the Ways of the Lord.

    May 13, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    how about approving the keystone pipeline and proving you care about jobs for americans?
    A four storefront strip mall will create more permanent jobs than the KXL.

    Did you know that safety controls detect/declare a leak when there is an unaccounted for 1% drop in volume? I've read that the pipeline can move the equivalent of over 800,000 barrels/day. Did you know that that translates to a spill of about 8000 barrels before it is even detected?

    May 13, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. sonny chapman

    Hey Just Asking-If the Words of Jesus cause you to reexamine your conscious or faith-'Mission Accomplished"!

    May 13, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. This Country is NUTS

    No country on this planet allows itself to be invaded by tens of millions of people illegally. Furthermore, no country on this planet then rewards tens of millions of criminals for violating their borders and laws. ADDITIONALLY, no country on this planet lures these illegals with sanctuary cities, a catch and release policy, government issued IDs and licenses, government benefits, etc.


    May 13, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    "If the Republicans don't do it, they shouldn't bother to run a candidate in 2016,"
    He's absolutely right. I don't know how conservatives plan on winning elections when they're a growing minority and hispanics are a growing majority. Unless they gerrymander the country some more.

    May 13, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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