Republican Leaders Holding Up Immigration Reform: Obama
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[April 18, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President
Barack Obama on Thursday called on the U.S. Congress to pass
comprehensive immigration reform, which he said was being blocked by
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives.
Obama said at a White House news conference there were Republicans
in both the House and Senate who know immigration reform "is the
right thing to do."
"I also know it's hard politics for Republicans because there are
some in their base that are very opposed to this," Obama said.
"Right now what's holding us back is House Republican leadership not
willing to go ahead and let the process move forward."
Obama met Wednesday with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to
discuss immigration and Cantor later issued a statement saying Obama
did not know how to work with Congress and implying that the
president attacked the people he needed to collaborate with.
At his news conference, Obama said the meeting was more genial than
Cantor's statement indicated.
"What I said to him privately ... is something that I've said
publicly, which is there is bipartisan support for comprehensive
immigration reform," Obama said. "It would strengthen our economy,
it would help with our security and it would provide relief to
families, many of whom have lived here for years and have children
and family members who are U.S. citizens. The Congress should act."
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House Speaker John Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, repeatedly has
said he would not accept a comprehensive immigration reform bill
passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate last year, even though it
enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Boehner favors a piecemeal
approach to changing U.S. immigration laws.
Immigration reform groups are pressuring Obama to use executive
powers to ease deportations on some illegal residents if Congress
cannot pass a broad update of existing law. Obama has said the
administration was reviewing its options.
(Reporting by Bill Trott; editing by Eric Beech)
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