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Obama news conference: Where next on immigration reform?

April 29, 2009 |  6:06 pm

President Barack Obama responds to a question from the news media during a press conference on his 100th Day in Office from the East Room of the White House

The next question is on immigration reform and whether the president will reach out to Sen. John McCain, an advocate of immigration reform.

President Obama says he would “love to partner” with McCain and others on what is going to be “a critical issue.”

The current system, he said, “is putting a strain on border communities who oftentimes have to deal with a host of undocumented workers, and it keeps those undocumented workers in the shadows, which means they can be exploited at the same time they are depressing U.S. wages.”

Obama says he hopes to convene a “working group to start looking at a framework of how this legislation might be shaped.” In the meantime, he says, he is taking administrative steps in order to persuade the American people that, should an immigration reform law be crafted, the people will believe it can really be executed.

To that end, he says, his secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is working on strengthening border security. On the other hand, he adds, attention must be paid to the employers who are essentially “inviting workers in.” He does plan to have something in place this year, he says, and acknowledges his full plate: “I have been accused of doing too much,” he says. “We are moving full steam ahead on all fronts.”

-- Robin Abcarian

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Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh / EPA (Obama responds to a question from the news media during a press conference on his 100th Day in Office from the East Room of the White House.)

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