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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama to GOP: 'Listen to the will of the American people' on immigration

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Politics,White House,Immigration,Barack Obama,PennAve,Border Security,Meghashyam Mali,House Republicans,Law

President Obama on Wednesday urged House Republicans to “listen to the will of the American people” and bring immigration reform for a vote.

In a statement marking the one year anniversary of the introduction of a bipartisan Senate immigration bill, Obama slammed the GOP-controlled House for not taking action.

“One year ago, the Senate introduced comprehensive bipartisan legislation to fix our broken immigration system. Both sides worked together to pass that bill with a strong bipartisan vote,” said Obama.

“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,” he added. “Instead of advancing commonsense reform and working to fix our immigration system, House Republicans have voted in favor of extreme measures like a punitive amendment to strip protections from 'Dreamers.' "

The president said that there was overwhelming public support for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws and urged Republicans to act.

“The majority of Americans are ahead of House Republicans on this crucial issue and there is broad support for reform, including among Democrats and Republicans, labor and business, and faith and law enforcement leaders,” said Obama.

“We have a chance to strengthen our country while upholding our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and I urge House Republicans to listen to the will of the American people and bring immigration reform to the House floor for a vote,” he added.

The Senate bill crafted by the Gang of Eight passed the upper chamber in a 68-32 vote last June. But House GOP leaders said the bill was dead on arrival and that they would work to pass immigration reform in a piecemeal approach.

Conservatives say the focus should be on border security measures, and many are opposed to granting a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.

House Republican leaders earlier this year unveiled their own principles for reform, which included measures that would legalize illegal immigrant children and tighten border security.

But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, quickly pulled the plug, saying it was unlikely that lawmakers would pass immigration reform before November's midterm elections.

Republicans blamed Obama, saying that they did not trust him to enforce tougher border security measures and criticizing his move in 2012 to block the deportations of many young illegal immigrants.

Obama has called immigration reform a key second-term priority, but has also faced criticism from immigration reform groups who have urged him to take executive action and bypass Congress.

The president met with faith leaders Tuesday at the White House, reassuring them of his commitment to reform. But Obama has also declined to use executive actions to halt all deportations, saying that any permanent immigration fix must come from Capitol Hill.

House Democrats this week said that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was close to announcing several “fixes” to immigration law.

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