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Obama lashes out at opponents for not passing immigration bill

July 01, 2014 13:05 IST

US President Barack ObamaUS President Barack Obama has lashed out at his Republican opponents in the Congress for not passing the comprehensive immigration bill which would provide citizenship path to some 11 million undocumented people.

Obama announced to take a series of executive actions, including a shift of immigration enforcement resources.

But even with aggressive steps on his part, administrative action alone will not adequately address the problem, he said.

"The reforms that will do the most to strengthen our businesses, our workers, and our entire economy will still require an act of Congress.

“And I repeat: These are reforms that already enjoy the wide support of the American people," Obama told reporters at the White House.

"It's very rare where you get labor, business, evangelicals, law enforcement all agreeing on what needs to be done.

“And at some point, that should be enough. Normally, that is enough.

“The point of public service is to solve public problems.

“And those of us who have the privilege to serve have a responsibility to do everything in our power to keep Americans safe and to keep the doors of opportunity open," he said.

"Independent experts said that bill would strengthen our borders, grow our economy, shrink our deficits.

“As we speak, there are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House to pass an immigration bill on Tuesday.

“I would sign it into law today, and Washington would solve a problem in a bipartisan way," he said.

The American economy would be stronger today if House Republicans had allowed a simple yes-or-no vote on this bill or, for that matter, any bill.

"They'd be following the will of the majority of the American people who support reform.

“Instead, they've proven again and again that they're unwilling to stand up to the tea party in order to do what's best for the country.

“And the worst part about it is a bunch of them know better," he said.

"We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all.

“In recent weeks, we've seen a surge of unaccompanied children arrive at the border, brought here and to other countries by smugglers and traffickers," he said.

"The journey is unbelievably dangerous for these kids.

“The children who are fortunate enough to survive it will be taken care of while they go through the legal process, but in most cases that process will lead to them being sent back home.

“I've sent a clear message to parents in these countries not to put their kids through this," he said, adding that his administration is taking up the issue with the countries concerned.

He said he sent a letter to congressional leaders asking that they work with him to address the urgent humanitarian challenge on the border, and support the immigration and Border Patrol agents who already apprehend and deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants every year.

"If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours.

“I expect their recommendations before the end of summer and I intend to adopt those recommendations without further delay," he said.

Image: US President Barack Obama

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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