President Barack Obama renewed his push for immigration reform on Monday, during the first leg of his fundraising trip on the West Coast.
Speaking at a San Francisco recreation center, the president once again called attention to the urgent need to “fix the broken immigration reform system” by passing comprehensive reform.
During the speech, the president called out the “unwillingness of certain Republicans in Congress” as the “only thing standing in our way.”
“We’ve got to finish the job,” Obama declared. The immigration reform passed by the Senate in the summer is now stalled in the Republican-controlled House.
The speech came after several recently released polls found Obama’s popularity declining among Americans. With the public’s trust and confidence in the president dwindling, some reform advocates are becoming skeptical that he has what it takes to push immigration reform through in 2014.
Several hecklers interrupted the president’s speech, urging him to use his executive power to stop deportations.
President Obama responded, “I respect the passion of these young people, but we’re also a nation of laws, that’s our tradition.”
“It’s not just a matter of us saying we’re going to violate the law,” he added.
Still, President Obama – who now says he would accept a piecemeal approach to immigration reform – agreed the issue must be tackled “now.” And he says that he believes House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) — who said last week that Congress must act on immigration reform — “is sincere” and “genuinely wants to get it done,” adding that doing so will “require some courage.”
“There are some members of the Republican caucus who think this is bad politics for them back home,” Obama explained.
“I believe ultimately…good policy is good politics,” the president also said.
Obama also briefly addressed the controversial nuclear deal that his administration reached with Iran over the weekend. The president insisted that “we cannot commit ourselves to an endless cycle of conflict” and “tough talk and bluster” as a means of achieving lasting security.
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