News

Obama, Republicans feud over immigration

Obama, Republicans feud over immigration

IMMIGRATION REFORM:A woman holds a cluster of U.S. flags during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Oakland, California Aug. 13. Photo: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Partisan bickering over immigration reform legislation intensified on Wednesday as President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Republicans accused each other of standing in the way of progress one year after bipartisan Senate legislation was introduced.

On the one-year anniversary of the Senate bill, Obama went on the attack after a long period of trying to encourage progress in the House.

“Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

“I urge House Republicans to listen to the will of the American people and bring immigration reform to the House floor for a vote,” Obama said.

He repeated that plea in a private conversation with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican said.

The Senate legislation, unveiled on April 16, 2013, and passed by the full Senate in June, has remained stalled in the Republican-led House, despite a strong vote by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Over the past few months, there has been little evidence the House would make progress in this mid-term election year in passing comprehensive immigration reform, even in a piecemeal fashion.

Instead, Republicans have devoted much of their efforts to blasting Obama’s landmark healthcare law and calling for its repeal.

Obama has warned that a failure by Congress to pass legislation could prompt him to look for ways to use his executive powers to make some limited advances on U.S. immigration policy.

Cantor responded to Obama with a statement later on Wednesday, saying, “After five years, President Obama still has not learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done. You do not attack the very people you hope to engage in a serious dialogue.”

Cantor’s statement concluded with a plea for Obama to work with Congress on addressing “the issues facing working middle-class Americans” who are struggling.

In February, House Speaker John Boehner floated a set of principles for immigration legislation, which included legalizing some of those who entered the United States illegally or overstayed their visas.

But conservative Republicans balked and warned their leaders to avoid such a divisive fight in this election year, when they are hoping to add to their House majority and take control of the Senate.

Instead of pursuing comprehensive immigration reform, so far, the House Judiciary Committee has focused mainly on clamping down on illegal entries and ferreting out undocumented residents.

More than 11 million people are thought to be in the United States illegally. Many are children brought over the southern U.S. border from Mexico by their parents, many of whom are employed by American firms in need of unskilled labor.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Tom Brown)

Recent Headlines

12 hours ago in Local

Another Day, Another Leaders’ Meeting

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner delivers his inauguration address Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Springfield, Ill., after being sworn in as Illinois' 42nd governor.

The four legislative leaders are now meeting daily with Gov. Bruce Rauner in his office.

13 hours ago in Local

House Re-Votes on Budget; Passes Again

Under the Capitol Dome

The mood was a little more tempered, but the votes remained the same.

15 hours ago in Local

U of I Goes Inside for “Branding”

illinois logo

A public relations firm hired to develop a branding plan for the University of Illinois' flagship campus has been replaced by a school committee.

15 hours ago in Local

CPS Chief Leads Capitol Rally

Chicago Public Schools

The head of Chicago Public Schools says the district has "reached the point of no return" and faces severe cuts without "equal" funding from the state.

16 hours ago in Local

Rauner Not Paying Much Attention to Wednesday’s Budget Vote

10-16-15 Rauner Langfelder 10th St Corridor

Outwardly, Gov. Bruce Rauner seems to be taking the state's most important matters in stride, a day after the Speaker of the House dissed his “working groups” and then engineered a budget vote controversial in many ways.