President Obama said during the week of April 18 that he hopes to make immigration reform a priority once again, and expects to see new legislation on the issue before the end of his presidency.
In an April 19 meeting with his cabinet and several national immigration stakeholders—but no members of Congress, Obama expressed his disappointment that immigration reform hasn’t been made a priority in Congress.
The president reiterated his stance the next day at a town hall event held at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.
“At the same time, I think most Americans feel there should be an orderly process to do ,” Obama said. “People shouldn’t just be coming here and cutting in front of the line, essentially, and staying without having gone through the proper channels.”
In particular, Obama spoke of the DREAM Act, which would help children of illegal immigrants to attend college and join the military. He believes those kids are only following their parents and should be embraced as Americans.
“And so what we’ve said is, especially for these young people who are our neighbors, our friends, our children’s friends, if they are of good character and going to school or joining our military, they want to be part of the American family, why wouldn’t we want to embrace them?” he asked. “Why wouldn’t we want to make sure that they’re contributing to our future?”
However, Obama’s detractors on the issue claim he hasn’t done enough to help America’s Hispanic community. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), said he wants Obama to end deportations.
“I’m not coming to ask for amnesty or for broad immigration reform because there’s no consensus in Congress,” Gutierrez told Fox News. “Just to demand that the president use his discretion as he has done in the past and put a stop to so much suffering.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform was even more critical, saying Obama is only addressing the issue because it benefits him ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
“The President will only address immigration when it serves his political interests,” said FAIR President Dan Stein. “Just days after he announced his reelection bid, the President met behind closed doors promising amnesty to appease the special interests he needs to energize his campaign supporters.”