Obama: Include path to citizenship
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Jul 16, 2013
President Barack Obama doesn't plan to compromise with House Republicans when it comes to a path to citizenship, he said Tuesday in his first interviews since House Republicans signaled they will move ahead on immigration reform, but perhaps without including such a pathway.
"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, and certainly for us to have two classes of people in this country, full citizens, and people who are permanently resigned to a lower status," he said in an interview with Telemundo Denver. "I think that's not who we are as Americans. That's never been our tradition."
Obama acknowledged that a path to citizenship could be a politically "tough" issue for House Republicans to support because "many of their constituents are suspicious of ... what immigration might mean for their political futures in some cases." But, he said, "we need to just go ahead and get this done."
Though the bill passed last month by the Senate was unable to work out a mechanism through which immigrants could pay back taxes, Obama suggested that he expects to see one. "If we have an earned path to citizenship, not only are they paying a penalty, paying back taxes, learning English, but they now can be full-fledged members and contributors to our economy," he said.
Obama has long made clear that he wants to sign a comprehensive bill and not the piecemeal legislation that House Republicans are considering, and again warned about that approach. "The danger of doing it in pieces is that a lot of groups want different things," he told Telemundo Dallas. "And you know, there's a tendency I think to put off the hard stuff until the end. And 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."
"We need to, I think, do this as a complete package," he continued. "You know, we've been working on this for years now, everybody knows what the debates are. It's time for us to-- stop worrying about politics, and worry about doing the right thing for the country."
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