Obama sees immigration deal within 6 months

Obama sees immigration deal within 6 months

WASHINGTON – The Associated Press
Obama sees immigration deal within 6 months

Anais Arias-Aragon poses for pictures with her certificate after receiving proof of U.S. citizenship during a ceremony in San Francisco, California January 30, 2013. REUTERS Photo

U.S. President Barack Obama said Jan. 30 he’s looking for U.S. immigration reform to be completed within six months, in an interview with Spanish-language TV channel Telemundo.

Obama said a deal should certainly be attainable this year, but he wants one even sooner. He said that politics, not technical issues, are standing in the way. “I can guarantee that I will put everything I have behind it,” Obama told Telemundo, one of two he conducted Jan. 30 with Spanish-language television networks.

A group of senators, both Democrats and Republicans, has agreed on a framework for comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country. In the Republican-controlled House, another group of lawmakers is working on its own proposal.

Obama is promoting his own set of principles similar to those included in the Senate plan, but he has not been directly involved in the Senate’s negotiations, perhaps a sign he recognizes that too much involvement by the Democratic president could make it harder for Republican lawmakers to sign on.
But Obama said he is open to meeting privately or publicly with members of either party, including Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

In a separate interview with Univision, Obama said the bill should make clear that a pathway to citizenship “is real and not just a fantasy for the future.”

“What we don’t want is to create some vague prospect in the future that somehow comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship will happen, you know, manana,” he said, using the Spanish word for “tomorrow.” ”We want to make sure that we’re very clear that this legislation provides a real pathway.”