President says two, three months are all that’s left in 2014.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: President Barack Obama on Tuesday said that the clock is ticking on immigration reform to happen this year, but said that it is possible and that he wants it to happen as soon as possible, echoing statements made by both Democrats and Republicans that the controversial legislation would be implemented this year against seemingly impossible odds.
Obama said that Congress has a window of “two [or] three months” to get as much work done as they can on the major immigration overhaul. After that time frame, the midterm elections will completely take over the political sphere, and will compromise any chance that immigration reform has of getting passed this year.
Obama also said that he’s willing to allow for some wiggle room with immigration reform, saying that he’s not “hell-bent” on getting absolutely everything he ideally wants passed by the Republicans. The President said that for him, the version that passes must provide for the controversial pathway to citizenship, allowing illegal aliens the opportunity to become fully naturalized US citizens over time.
Democrats have been trying to pass immigration reform for over a year, and a version of the bill – previously known as “Gang of Eight,” because of the eight legislators backing it – passed through the left-leaning House of Representatives. However, the more conservative-leaning Senate stonewalled it, demanding changes and revisions before it could meet with their approval.
Republicans have been reticent to allow provisions that would provide amnesty to the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country, and have also asked for increased border protection to stifle illegal immigration as much as possible. Recently, however, they’ve wavered on the former demand, with several Republican Congressmen working on ways to allow citizenship to illegal aliens.
Speaker of the House John Boehner has also said that he hopes immigration reform passes this year, too, and even participated in a Republican retreat earlier this year to discuss accomplishing this with fellow high-ranking party members. But so far this year, actual movement on passing the bill has remained stagnant.