Washington: The Obama Administration has expressed hope that the US Congress would be able to pass the immigration reform bill, even as the House of Representative Speaker John Boehner remained doubtful about it.
A comprehensive immigration reform bill if passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama, who has made it a top priority issue this year, would pave the way for citizenship to 11 million undocumented people and accelerate the process for legal immigration for professionals from countries like India and China.
"We remain optimistic about the prospects for comprehensive immigration reform in 2014. We've seen significant movement among Republicans on this issue, and it is heartening to see that Republican leaders in Congress - including the Speaker of the House and others - identify immigration reform as a necessary priority. That's a good thing," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
Carney's remarks came yesterday after Boehner told reporters that he is doubtful that the Congress would be able to pass the comprehensive immigration bill this year.
The Senate has already passed the bill, but the US House of Representatives is yet to pass it. The Republicans last week unveiled their draft policy on immigration reform.
"This is an important issue in our country. It's been kicked around forever and it needs to be dealt with. Having said that, we outlined our principles last week to our members by and large support - put together by the leadership team and they believe it," Boehner said.
"But I've never underestimated the difficulty in moving forward this year. And the reason that I said that we need a step-by-step common sense approach to this is so we can build trust with the American people that we're doing this the right way. And frankly, one of the biggest obstacles we face is the one of trust," the Speaker said.
"I think the President's gonna have to demonstrate to the American people and to my colleagues that he can be trusted to enforce the law as it is written," Boehner said.
Carney said there?s no alternative to comprehensive immigration reform passing through Congress.
"It requires legislation. And the President has made that clear in the past, and that continues to be his view. That's why we need to work together to build on the existing bipartisan consensus to see it help deliver a bill through the House and then a bill that can ultimately reach the President?s desk," he said.
"I think that the challenges within the Republican Party on this issue are well known and they certainly don't have anything to do with the President. I think that there is a genuine recognition among leaders in the Republican Party that this is the right thing to do for our economy. It?s the right thing to do for our middle class. It?s the right thing to do for our businesses," he said.
"When we talk about expanding growth and opportunity, comprehensive immigration reform is very much a part of achieving that and achieving it together," he added.
First Published: Friday, February 07, 2014, 11:59