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President Obama calls for immigration reform, including path to legalization for illegal immigrants

Obama
In his first major speech on the issue, President Obama on Thursday called for immigration reform legislation that would include a pathway to citizenship for the country's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants but said it could not happen without Republican support.  

“We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair and reflective of our values and works,” Obama said in his speech at American University. “The question now is do we have the courage and political will to pass a bill through Congress and finally get it done.

“I’m ready to move forward. But the fact is without bipartisan support we cannot solve this problem. We cannot pass comprehensive reform without Republican votes. That is a political and mathematical reality.”

To bolster his argument, Obama noted that the number of border patrol officers along the country’s Southwest border is greater than it’s ever been and that crime along the border and the number of illegal crossers is down.

“The border is more secure today than at any time in the last 20 years,” he said.

But Obama said that more needed to be done to improve enforcement. He also said that those who broke the law to enter the country must get right with the law by registering with the government and paying fines.

“Our country has a right to control its border and set laws for residency and citizenship,” he said.

But Obama was short on specifics for legislative reforms, including a timeline for action. So far no bill has been introduced in the Senate.

As recently as May, Obama said he merely wanted to "begin work" on immigration this year -- not complete a bill. But this week he has approached the issue with renewed urgency.

He spoke to immigration advocates at the White House on Monday. Latino lawmakers who have criticized the White House for neglecting immigration said they were pleased.

But advocates have heard assurances before. And with conservatives energized, angry and likely to storm to the polls, Democrats fear they will lose even more seats in Congress than a president's party typically does at the halfway point in his term.

In addition, if Republicans make major gains in November, an immigration overhaul could be impossible in 2011 or 2012.

While running for president, Obama pledged to act on immigration in 2009. That deadline came and went. But Obama won two-thirds of the Latino vote in 2008 and has no wish to alienate a growing constituency.

Raising the issue anew allows Obama to mollify his Latino supporters. But it also puts Republicans in a tough spot. Neither party can afford to write off a Latino community whose influence is growing.

-- Anna Gorman and Peter Nicholas

Photo: People gathered at the Los Angeles office of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles to hear President Obama speaking on the immigration issue. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (179)

we need to secure our boarders..we must protect our soc sec system..we are at war

our president needs to get a handle in afganistan and on the oil spill

Sounds to me latinos are a huge class of law breakers that have broken our laws on a daily basis and expect the American people to ignore the fact that there presence in the USA is ILLEGAL. Republicans seam to have respect for the LAW where Democrats want to reward law breakers with the biggest gold ticket to justify there illegal ways. The American citizens are not having it, they are for the rule of law which illegal aliens have no respect for law. Dont think so? Look at Mexico, they are encouraging law breaking to send there people here for the money they send back. What good does that do America? The tax payers have been burdened by illegal aliens long enough. NO AMNESTY NO REFORM MAKE LIFE UNBARIBLE FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS WHERE EVER THEY ARE! And enforce the laws on the books now

Look Mr. President - we are not talking about legal immigration. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATIONS. These are totally two different subjects.

Amnesty, legalize illegals immigrants.. you might as well save the money and open our borders. Today we do it for 12 millions what about tomorrow? Can we really stop those border crossing. Tomorrow there will be 12 million more.

This is ridiculous, presumptuous, totally divisive, and totally destroying AMERICA. There is no reason to do this if we just carry out the existing law today.

Yes there is existing law to deal with it. Arizona is enforcing this law. Our leaders just fear to carry it out to it fullest extend because they fear that they will be voted out. We have gutless leaders who only cares for their own position and income.

``But Obama was short on specifics for legislative reforms, including a timeline for action.''

Obama? Short on specifics? Oh really, L.A. Times, you just noticed, huh? That's the point. He's ALWAYS short on specifics and long on rhetoric, unless it's about one of his pet socialist ideas.

I wish I lived on the same planet as Obama...must be a nice life when view this and every other issue through those rose colored glasses!

What they are going to get is a path to ...DEPORTATION....Gun UP!

No this is not Fair. My family and I waited for a year to get Visas. Then another 8 years to become citizens. Why is it ok to break the law and be rewarded for it. Besides, how many illegals have the money to pay for the fines? How much are the fines going to be? They are not going to come forward if it is going to cost anything.
And the Dream Act is even more unfair. not only will these students cut in line, but they will then be allowed to bring their families. That is even more unfair. NO AMNESTY. Leave the country and return here legaly. THat should be the only way to become a citizen of this great nation.

Obama is a broken record. The vast majority of Americans simply was existing immigration laws enforced. The only 'comprehensive Immigration Reform' needed is one that increases the number of educated and skilled immigrants that teh country will benefit from. Do we really need another 12 million poor undereducated immigrants from Latin America to take us into the 21st century? We should gladly take educated Mexican immigrants but they stay in Mexico!

If the immigrant groups are pleased then it's not what the American people want. We already went down the path of allowing a pathway to citizenship for illegals. We gave them Amnesty in the 1990's. Instead of solving the problem we legalized 3 million and ended up with 11 million more. Don't these politicians get it you can't reward illegal behavior.

1) We have a gair way to come, it's called applying for a visa.
2) Our values, America's values, are values that place people who obey the law above all others. Illegals do no obey the law, hence, illegal alien.
3) We already have set laws for residency and citizenship. Enforce those laws.
4) Wooing a specific race or ethnicity, instead of representing America as a whole, is a racist attitude and a racist approach. No race or ethnicity should gain any preference over another. Especially if that race or ethnicity has become a large portion of our society because they were able to elude law enforcement in their sneakinf into our country.
5) Paying a fine is not a fair way to approach this. Going back to where you came from and trying the legal way is what is needed.
6) Why is this president putting foreign nationals who broke our laws ahead of our nations legal residents and citizens?

The best immigration reform would be to close the borders, deport all the illegal free loaders and stop the bleeding. As far as a path to legalization... its over there and it heads back south of the border so they can try it the legal way way next time.

We have immigration laws that work if you enforce them. They have worked for many years and have helped our country to prosper.

What is happening here is that congress is showing us who wants to keep their jobs in November.

Obama knows he is again indulging in empty rhetoric on the issue by setting up a strawman to rally the hispanics for his own purposes.He wants us to believe he is not posturing.

Obama must be on out of his mind? Why reward those people who has broken the law. My relatives waited for years and respected the law to come to the USA. Then you reward those people who has broken the law. They come here and make babies, get a welfare check out of those babies and they lived here for free including free health care. A temporary workers permit will work and abolish birth right citizenship for people born with illegal aliens.

@Dave-co

Sounds to me like your that typical ignorant Christian white guy with no regards to common sense or compassion, very Christian of you.

@ Everyone who has the story that their family came here legally,etc.

Thats a very touching story. But these people are not going to be in front of the line. They are going to the back of the line and waiting in line like everyone else. So they are not jumping ahead of anyone! Get that straight!

LIBERALSM IS REALLY A TERRIBLE MENTAL DISEASE, OBUMA CANT UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BEWTEEN ILLEGAL AND LEGAL.. HEY OBAMA THESE PEOPLE ARE ILLEGAL..THEY BROKE THE LAW..THEY ARE CRIMINALS...ILLEGAL MEANS BROKE THE LAW..THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON "LEGAL" IMMIGRATION GET IT??? LOOK IT UP IN THE BIG BOOK THAT SAYS DICTIONARY ON THE COVER.

IF THE DEMOC RATS ONLY LET THE REPUBS ENFORCE E-VERIFY WHICH IS A LAW ALREADY ON THE BOOKS THE ILLEGALS WOULD BEGIN TO SELF DEPORT OVER NIGHT..ITS REAL REAL EASY BUT THEY DONT WANT THAT..THE TRAITORS IN WASHINGTON WAS 25-30 MILLION MORE VOTERS, EVEN IF IT MEANS THE DOWNFALL OF AMERICA...THEY ARE THE SICKEST MOST TWISTED AMERICA HATERS EVER TO DEFILE THE WHITE HOUSE.

I too have trouble understanding Obama (who I voted for) on this issue. The main thing broken about the immigration system is that millions of people are crossing our borders illegally, and have been for decades. Let's fix that and then talk about what to do with the illegals here. If we don't fix the borders, millions more will come in search of the next amnesty or "path to citizenship."

"Racist latino lawmakers interested in shoehorning more of 'their kind" into amerika, inadvertently re-creating the failed states they fled, said they were pleased."

fixed it for ya

The politicians are making this a racist issue. Why can't either party "afford to alienate Latinos?" This is an issue about illegal immigration, about border crime, about a ridiculous number of immigrants, not Latinos. There are plenty of Latinos who are able to vote because they are citizens who think amnesty is a bad idea. This is not racist; it is reality. What in the world is the US going to do with 20 million new citizens who refuse to speak English, who identify themselves as Latino first and American second, if at all, who send money back to Mexico, who think they have a RIGHT to be here, who do not value education, but value making money (hence, drug related crime). It is unacceptable, un-American and certainly not in keeping with our immigration policy of ASSIMILATION.

If Obama were a good president and cared about the will of the people he would stop illegal immigration and get tough on those already here illegally. But he´s not and he wont.

so if we give a pathway to legalization to all illegal immigrants, that means everyone can become a citizen then. there'd be no point in getting visas and going through the b.s. of the immigration system. correct me if im wrong.

so if we give a pathway to legalization to all illegal immigrants, that means everyone can become a citizen then. there'd be no point in getting visas and going through the b.s. of the immigration system. correct me if im wrong.

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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