Obama Says Passing Immigration Bill May Be Difficult

Helene Cooper
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Obama conceded Wednesday that Congress may not have the appetite to deal with the hot-button immigration issue this year, but he vowed to continue to press lawmakers to at least begin work soon on a comprehensive bill to overhaul the country’s immigration system.

In a rare interview with reporters aboard Air Force One, Mr. Obama said it was vital that Congress address the immigration issue, lest more state measures like the tough new law in Arizona sprout up.

But he acknowledged that the road to a comprehensive immigration bill was an uphill one. “It’s a matter of political will,” he said, adding that Congress might not have the stomach for another tough battle after the bruising fight over health care and the prospect of another battle over a climate change bill.

“We’ve gone through a very tough year, and I’ve been driving Congress pretty hard,” Mr. Obama said.

But the president said that “we need to start a process, at least,” adding that he wanted to come up with a proposal that could win broad public support…

…Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton waded into the debate on Wednesday with the bravado of someone never facing election again.

“I don’t think there’s any alternative but for us to increase immigration,” he said, both to help the economy grow and to fix the long-term finances of Medicare and Social Security…

The complete article is at NYT.

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