Barack Obama, ever eager to go over the heads of Congress and appeal to constituencies that have supported him, took his immigration reform pitch to the Latino community on Wednesday. He spoke on both Telemundo and Univision in an attempt to convince their listeners that if an immigration deal is reached, he will be the one responsible, but if it is not reached, Congress is to blame and he will have to do the job all by himself.
Obama told Telemundo:
If we have a bill introduced at the beginning of next month as these senators indicate it will be, then I’m confident that we can get it done certainly before the end of the summer. This is a resolvable issue. The most important thing is that we’re seeing a strong commitment to finally solve this problem in a way that strengthens our border security, makes sure that there’s a pathway to citizenship — an earned one, a tough one, but a pathway — so that people can live out their dreams and make sure that they have a better life for themselves and their kids.
Obama’s comments were made after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO had publicly differed over worker wages, threatening the draft bill a bipartisan Senate group has been working on and is rumored to be bringing to the Senate in April. When asked, Obama remarked that the fight would not torpedo the legislation.
GOP members are demanding that any new border security standards be very clear before illegal immigrants already here are given citizenship. Obama evaded that by saying, “Regardless of how much additional effort we put in on the borders, we don’t want to make this earned pathway to citizenship a situation in which it’s put off further and further into the future. There needs to be a certain path for how people can get legal in this country, even as we also work on these strong border security issues.”
Obama also evaded that question on Univision, asserting, “Given the size of the border, it’s never going to be 110 percent perfect. What we can do is to continue to improve it.” He added, “I’m not gonna presuppose failure. I don’t know why you keep on asking about failure, ’cause I think this is gonna succeed. I’m prepared to step in. But I don’t think that’s going to be necessary.”