President Barack Obama has vowed that he will pressure Congress to take up comprehensive immigration reform “the day after” the government shutdown and the debt ceiling are resolved.
“Once that’s done, you know, the day after I’m going to be pushing to say, call a vote on immigration reform,” Obama told Univision’s Los Angeles affiliate Tuesday. “I’m going to do so because I think it’s really important for the country.”
Obama vowed that he would “keep pushing” on comprehensive immigration reform. Last Saturday, the President used his weekly radio address to say one of the reasons the government shutdown had to end was so that Congress could pass comprehensive immigration reform, his “number-one priority.”
While the Obama administration barricaded open-air memorials like the World War II Memorial during the shutdown and sent riot police to greet veterans protesting those actions on Sunday, it allowed protesters demanding comprehensive immigration reform to use the National Mall, which was supposedly “closed” due to the shutdown, for a rally last week.
Obama praised the immigration bill the Senate passed, which Senators like Marco Rubio (R-FL), John McCain (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) helped to write and provides a “pathway to citizenship” for all of the country’s illegal immigrants. He blamed House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for not allowing a vote on the Senate’s bill, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would reduce the wages of working class Americans. House Republicans said they would not bring up the Senate bill.
Instead, House Republicans have been working on piecemeal immigration legislation of their own–even during the budget negotiations–and Republican leaders have also indicated immigration reform would be on the agenda after the budget issues are resolved.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suggested any immigration bill that passes the House would go to a conference with the Senate, where provisions like a pathway to citizenship would most likely prevail. For that reason, Pelosi said she and other Democrats were willing to do “whatever it takes” o ultimately conference with the Senate on comprehensive immigration reform.