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Friday, October 28, 2016

WASHINGTON — In a potential breakthrough on an immigration overhaul, President Barack Obama hinted that he would be open to a reform bill even if it lacked a special pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people here illegally.

The comments broadcast Friday in a CNN interview raised hopes for bipartisan legislation on the matter. Previously Obama and other Democrats had said that any reform measure should include a provision to make it easier for immigrants in the U.S. illegally to obtain citizenship.

The president’s comments follow a GOP proposal released Thursday that would give immigrants legal status but no special citizenship process, except in the cases of children brought here illegally by their parents.

Obama said in the TV interview that he would still prefer a special citizenship path, but signaled he was open to other approaches.

“If (House Speaker John A. Boehner) proposes something that says right away: Folks aren’t being deported, families aren’t being separated, we’re able to attract top young students to provide the skills or start businesses here and then there’s a regular process of citizenship, I’m not sure how wide the divide ends up being,” Obama said.

Other leading Democrats have similarly signaled in recent days that the differences with Republicans on immigration could be bridged in order to win passage of legislation later this year.

Obama stopped short of saying he would veto any bill without special path to citizenship.

“Well, you know, I’m not going to prejudge what gets to my desk,” Obama said, adding that he doesn’t want to see “two classes” of people in America.

Immigration advocates said the president’s comments might open the door for a compromise.

“I don’t think (Obama) is throwing citizenship under the bus,” said Angela Kelley, an immigration expert at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank with close ties to the White House. “I think he is trying to open the conversation by saying there are lots of ways to get to the finish line.”

AFP Photo/Jewel Samad

  • Dominick Vila

    I would definitely compromise on the issue of citizenship for adults who deliberately broke our laws, but I would not compromise on the issue of “anchor babies”. Children are not guilty for crimes committed by their parents, most “anchor babies” grew up and were educated in the USA. They speak English and the only culture they are familiar with is ours. Deporting them would be worse than trying to justify the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Besides, if we are willing to consider the potential presidential candidacy of a man born in Canada, to a Cuban Dad and an American born mother, why should we deport children born in the USA? Doing so is unconstitutional and should not be part of the ongoing debate.
    Granting illegal immigrants permanent residency is not the same as citizenship. Millions of LEGAL immigrants enter the USA and live, study or work in our country with a Green Card. Nobody considered second class citizens. The only difference in this instance is that as opposed to those who entered the USA legally, illegal immigrants will not be able to apply for citizenship and become U.S. citizens. Otherwise, they will enjoy most of the benefits and opportunities extended to everyone else. There is a price to pay when someone deliberately breaks the law, and those who do must understand that simple reality.

    • dmhlt_66

      They wouldn’t be allowed to vote – but they WOULD be required to pay taxes.

      Weren’t the original Tea Party folks the one who said something about …

      “No Taxation Without Representation”

  • Gadsden Purchase

    Americans need to remember that Hussein Obama’s criminal regime left four Americans to die in Benghazi and viciously tried to deny health care to ten year old Sarah Murnaghan.