Obama, Congressional leaders discuss immigration reform

After a bipartisan meeting with Congressional leaders yesterday to talk about immigration reform, President Obama said:

We have members of Congress from both chambers, from parties, who have participated in the meeting and shared a range of ideas. I think the consensus is that despite our inability to get this passed over the last several years, the American people still want to see a solution in which we are tightening up our borders, or cracking down on employers who are using illegal workers in order to drive down wages — and oftentimes mistreat those workers. And we need a effective way to recognize and legalize the status of undocumented workers who are here.

The Washington Post reports:

A bipartisan group of lawmakers emerged from a White House meeting with President Obama on Thursday confident that the president is ready to put his political weight behind an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

“I don’t think he could have be clearer today or more committed today that he wanted to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who had previously expressed disappointment with Obama’s commitment to the issue. “He led today,”

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports

President Obama told a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday that Congress should begin debating a comprehensive immigration plan by year’s end or early next year, but Republicans said they would support a measure only if it included an expansion of guest worker programs.

Leading the call for that provision was Senator John McCain of Arizona, who told Mr. Obama he would have to take his “political lumps” and stand up to labor unions that oppose the idea. The president praised Mr. McCain for paying “a significant political cost for doing the right thing.”

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