Obama: Immigration Reform to Start Moving By the End of the Year

By Lindsey Ellerson

Aug 10, 2009 4:34pm

From ABC News' Sunlen Miller: President Obama said today at a presser in Guadalajara, Mexico, that because he has so much on his legislative plate, and it’s important to “sequence these big initiatives in way a there they don’t all just crash at the same time,” that immigration reform will have to wait next year, yet movement will start rolling in the fall session of Congress this year. Ticking though the still-outstanding legislation yet to get passed this year – health care, energy and, financial regulatory reform – Obama said immigration will be addressed, but not just yet. “Am I going to be able to snap my fingers and get this done? No. This is going to be difficult," said the president.  "It's going to require bipartisan cooperation. There are going to be demagogues out there who try to suggest that any form of pathway for legalization for those who are already in the United States is unacceptable. And those are fights that I'd have to have if my poll numbers are at 70 or if my poll numbers are at 40. That's just the nature of the U.S. immigration debate.” Mr. Obama laid out a broad goal for working immigration reform through Congress, saying for the first time he anticipates that before the end of the year draft legislation will be moving forward.  “What we've been able to do is to begin meeting with both Democrats and Republicans from the House and the Senate," he said.  "Secretary Napolitano is coordinating these discussions, and I would anticipate that before the year is out we will have draft legislation along with sponsors potentially in the House and the Senate who are ready to move this forward, and when we come back next year, that we should be in a position to start acting.” Obama admitted as he has in the past, that the system as it stands right now is broken, and that fairness is what ultimately the American people want. “We can create a system in which you have strong border security, we have an orderly process for people to come in, but we're also giving an opportunity for those who are already in the United States to be able to achieve a pathway to citizenship so that they don't have to live in the shadows.” Obama returns back to the US this evening after a quick 24 hour trip to Guadalajara where he sat down for a series of bilateral and trilateral meetings with his counterparts of Mexico and Canada. -Sunlen  Miller

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