Washington: US President Barack Obama and the Republican leadership clashed over the immigration reform, which analysts say would make it difficult for the passage of the legislation that proposes to provide a path to citizenship to 11 million undocumented people from countries like India.
"Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly failed to take action, seemingly preferring the status quo of a broken immigration system over meaningful reform," Obama yesterday said in a strongly worded statement following which he spoke with the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
"The President called me hours after he issued a partisan statement which attacked me and my fellow House Republicans and which indicated no sincere desire to work together. After five years, President Obama still has not learned how to effectively work with Congress to get things done. You do not attack the very people you hope to engage in a serious dialogue," Cantor said.
Cantor said House Republicans do not support Senate Democrats' immigration bill and amnesty efforts, and it will not be considered in the House.
"I hope the President can stop his partisan messaging, and begin to seriously work with Congress to address the issues facing working middle class Americans that are struggling to make ends meet in this economy," Cantor said.
In his statement, Obama alleged that instead of advancing commonsense reform and working to fix the immigration system, House Republicans have voted in favor of extreme measures like a punitive amendment to strip protections from 'Dreamers'.
"The majority of Americans are ahead of House Republicans on this crucial issue and there is broad support for reform, including among Democrats and Republicans, labor and business, and faith and law enforcement leaders," he said.
"We have a chance to strengthen our country while upholding our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and I urge House Republicans to listen to the will of the American people and bring immigration reform to the House floor for a vote," Obama said.
The Immigration Reform Bill passed by the Senate, Obama said, would grow the economy by USD 1.4 trillion and shrink the deficit by nearly USD 850 billion over the next two decades, while providing a tough but fair pathway to earned citizenship to bring 11 million undocumented individuals out of the shadows, modernizing the legal immigration system, continuing to strengthen border security and holding employers accountable.
"Simply put, it would boost our economy, strengthen our security, and live up to our most closely-held values as a society," Obama said.
Drew Hammill, spokesman for Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, said that in response to the President's renewed call for action on comprehensive immigration reform, Cantor once again offered only excuses for inaction.
First Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014, 14:32