Obama endorses immigration reform bill, threatens alternative if it flounders
Marco Rubio is a co-author of the bill.
President Obama has embraced a bipartisan immigration reform plan put forward by the Senate, but has also threatened to advance his own plan, should Congress fail to make progress on the issue. Obama made his endorsement during a speech in Nevada on Tuesday.
Obama said to a crowd of supporters, "The good news is that -- for the first time in many years -- Republicans and Democrats seem ready to tackle this problem together. And yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators announced their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, which are very much in line with the principles I've proposed and campaigned on for the last few years. At this moment, it looks like there's a genuine desire to get this done soon. And that's very encouraging."
It is encouraging. Throughout much of Obama's administration, very little has been accomplished with regard to immigration reform, despite its relative importance to many Americans.
However, Obama had a warning for Congress. Obama made a point to say that he would not allow the proposal "to get bogged down in an endless debate." Obama pledged that if it did, he would advance his own proposal "and insist they vote on it right away," he said.
Obama said he supports four basic principles in the debate. Those include, improving border security, going after employers who hire illegal immigrants, streamlining the legal immigration process, and offering those already here illegally, a path to citizenship.
The deal is a compromise, and will undoubtedly draw ire from the fringes of both sides. Liberals will be upset because it does not afford enough amnesty and the extreme right because it affords any at all. However, politics is the art of compromise, and the compromise might prove sufficiently reasonable enough to pass.
If the legislation passes, then it will fall to Obama to actually enforce it, an area where his track record is less-than-stellar. It will do little good to grant effectual amnesty to many illegals while refusing to crack down on employers who provide jobs and incentives for more to enter the country. Nor will it be of any use to impose new rules and leave the border undefended by hampering border patrol efforts to preserve safety and security.
In addition to Obama's endorsement, Marco Rubio, (R-FL) a senator who is a favorite of conservatives, is one of the eight proposing the bill. Rubio however has qualified his support telling Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday, "If, in fact, this bill does not have real triggers in there -- in essence, if there's not language in this bill that guarantees that nothing else happens unless these enforcement mechanisms are in place -- then I won't support it."
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