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Friday, July 02, 2010

Obama calls out GOP on immigration - Los Angeles Times

Obama calls out GOP on immigration - Los Angeles Times

he president's remarks present a preview of the message the White House intends to highlight in the midterm election: Republicans' stubborn refusal to help solve national problems.
July 01, 2010|By Peter Nicholas and Christi Parsons, Tribune Washington Bureau
Reporting from Washington — In his first major speech on the issue since taking office, President Obama said Thursday that the U.S. immigration system "offends our most basic American values" and blamed Republican opposition for thwarting crucially needed change.

It was the third time in as many days that Obama singled out Republicans as an obstructionist force, blaming them in his earlier appearances for defending oil giant BP in the aftermath of the Gulf Coast oil spill and for opposing stronger financial regulatory legislation.

The president's remarks this week represented the clearest preview yet of the message the White House intends to highlight in this year's midterm election: Republicans' stubborn refusal to help solve national problems.

The theme appeared to galvanize many supporters of immigration legislation who were in the audience at American University for Obama's speech Thursday.

"I think it was a clarion call," said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. "He implied, 'The ball is in your court.'"

Republicans shot back with a sizzling critique of the president's position, dismissing Obama's argument that the U.S.-Mexican border was more secure now than in years.

"Half a million people still illegally enter our country today, most through Arizona, and his administration has yet to lay out a strategy on how it intends to bring it under control," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.).

The immigration debate has been fueled by passage of an Arizona law that allows police to question those they suspect of being illegal immigrants after making an unlawful stop. The Obama administration is expected to announce soon that it will file a legal challenge to that law.

Speaking to religious and political activists Thursday, Obama recalled congressional steps toward immigration-restructuring under President George W. Bush, when a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers supported a comprehensive solution. More...

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