Obama: “Now is the time for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform”

posted at 5:21 pm on January 29, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Speaking about the opportune moment for “common sense, comprehensive immigration reform” in Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon, President Obama urged Congress to “move forward in a timely fashion” on their bipartisan effort at legislation; otherwise, he’ll be “sending up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away.” Hear that, Congress? Move it or lose it, ’cause this guy is cracking the whip:

Transcript here:

Now, the good news is that for the first time in many years, Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together.  (Applause.)  Members of both parties, in both chambers, are actively working on a solution.  Yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I’ve proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. …

But this time, action must follow.  (Applause.)  We can’t allow immigration reform to get bogged down in an endless debate.  We’ve been debating this a very long time.  So it’s not as if we don’t know technically what needs to get done.  As a consequence, to help move this process along, today I’m laying out my ideas for immigration reform.  …

Now, of course, there will be rigorous debate about many of the details, and every stakeholder should engage in real give and take in the process.  But it’s important for us to recognize that the foundation for bipartisan action is already in place.  And if Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away.  (Applause.)

So the principles are pretty straightforward.  There are a lot of details behind it.  We’re going to hand out a bunch of paper so that everybody will know exactly what we’re talking about.  But the principles are pretty straightforward.

And here’s the “bunch of paper” to which the president was referring outlining his proposals, courtesy of the White House:

Together we can build a fair, effective and commonsense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

The key principles the President believes should be included in commonsense immigration reform are:

  • Continuing to Strengthen Border Security
  • Cracking Down on Employers Hiring Undocumented Workers
  • Earned Citizenship
  • Streamlining Legal Immigration

Notably, however, the White House is emphasizing that the president is not okay with linking the path to citizenship with border enforcement, and Sen. Rubio, who has been making the rounds defending his plan to conservatives, is not impressed:

Speaking on Fox News on Tuesday, Rubio insisted that illegal immigrants not be allowed to obtain green cards — let alone citizenship — “until the enforcement stuff is in place.”

“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.”

He said: “If that’s not in the bill, I won’t support it.”


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