News

Obama, Republicans feud over immigration

Obama, Republicans feud over immigration

IMMIGRATION REFORM:A woman holds a cluster of U.S. flags during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Oakland, California Aug. 13. Photo: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Partisan bickering over immigration reform legislation intensified on Wednesday as President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Republicans accused each other of standing in the way of progress one year after bipartisan Senate legislation was introduced.

On the one-year anniversary of the Senate bill, Obama went on the attack after a long period of trying to encourage progress in the House.

“Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

“I urge House Republicans to listen to the will of the American people and bring immigration reform to the House floor for a vote,” Obama said.

He repeated that plea in a private conversation with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican said.

The Senate legislation, unveiled on April 16, 2013, and passed by the full Senate in June, has remained stalled in the Republican-led House, despite a strong vote by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Over the past few months, there has been little evidence the House would make progress in this mid-term election year in passing comprehensive immigration reform, even in a piecemeal fashion.

Instead, Republicans have devoted much of their efforts to blasting Obama’s landmark healthcare law and calling for its repeal.

Obama has warned that a failure by Congress to pass legislation could prompt him to look for ways to use his executive powers to make some limited advances on U.S. immigration policy.

Cantor responded to Obama with a statement later on Wednesday, saying, “After five years, President Obama still has not learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done. You do not attack the very people you hope to engage in a serious dialogue.”

Cantor’s statement concluded with a plea for Obama to work with Congress on addressing “the issues facing working middle-class Americans” who are struggling.

In February, House Speaker John Boehner floated a set of principles for immigration legislation, which included legalizing some of those who entered the United States illegally or overstayed their visas.

But conservative Republicans balked and warned their leaders to avoid such a divisive fight in this election year, when they are hoping to add to their House majority and take control of the Senate.

Instead of pursuing comprehensive immigration reform, so far, the House Judiciary Committee has focused mainly on clamping down on illegal entries and ferreting out undocumented residents.

More than 11 million people are thought to be in the United States illegally. Many are children brought over the southern U.S. border from Mexico by their parents, many of whom are employed by American firms in need of unskilled labor.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Tom Brown)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

It’s been 30 years since ‘The Cosby Show’ debuted

cosby

Here are some of our favorite moments from one of America's favorite TV families.

in Music

New Queen album features Michael Jackson collaboration

25-overlay3

The track features vocals from late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and the King of Pop.

in Entertainment

Jennifer Garner’s life ‘too boring’ for Instagram

jennifer

The "Dallas Buyers Club" actress is adamant she won't join her husband, actor Ben Affleck, on Twitter either.

in Music

Motown Records founder gets ‘Homecoming’ honor

berrygordy

Berry Gordy has been honored as part of a three-day conference held to call on former Detroiters to help reshape the city's future.

in Music

John Legend meets Lee Ann Womack on ‘Crossroads’

legend

The R&B hitmaker teams up with a country music legend for the latest edition of musical mashup show "Crossroads."