President Obama has been intentionally absent from formulating immigration reform legislation that could be the centerpiece of his second term, well aware that his fingerprints on any bill could deter necessary Republican support.
But as a bipartisan Senate measure reached a critical stage Tuesday, Obama stepped forward publically in a cheerleading role. He is president, after all, and if he is going to claim an eventual achievement he must at least nominally contribute to its passage. And his push for the legislation — while no surprise — comes at a time when both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are carefully courting votes
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Senate leaders are aiming for a final vote by the July 4 recess, and the next three weeks will test the efficacy of several months’ worth of delicate negotiations, during which lawmakers crafting the bill urged the president to stay on the sidelines. The measure cleared the first in a series of procedural hurdles Tuesday, with the Senate voting 84-15 to debate the bill, which includes a 13-year path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, enhanced border security, low-skill and high-tech visa provisions, and mandatory workplace background checks.
Now, the tenuous amendment process and the hunt for 60 “yes” votes begin in earnest. In anticipation, Obama held a press conference at the White House attended by activists, business leaders, law enforcement officials and a couple of so-called “Dreamers” — children of illegal immigrants.
“A lot of people, Democrats and Republicans, have done a lot of good work on this bill,” the president said, arguing that his administration had done what it could to secure the border, deport criminals, and help Dreamers.
Read More at Real Clear Politics . By Caitlin Huey-Burns.