Fresh off the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist, a move that after stewing a few days seems to be rankling reporters and irritating at least as many people who are hands-down excited about it, and facing the debt ceiling with John Boehner demanding “trillions” in cuts if Congress is to pass an extension of the debt limit, and with a Friday jobs report that showed the unemployment rate exceeding projections, President Obama is turning back to the thorny issue of immigration reform.
It’s not all steeped concern about border-crossers: the president has a fundraiser afterward in Austin. Across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Texas residents are undoubtedly hoping that he’ll want to talk border security in light of Mexico’s unabated crime wave.
Yesterday on Cinco de Mayo, though, the president told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus “that he will continue to work to forge bipartisan consensus and will intensify efforts to lead a civil debate on this issue in the coming weeks and months,” according to a White House readout. He touted his immigration reform agenda again last night at a White House event and promised it “is not going to be easy” and will require bipartisan support. Democrats tried to push the DREAM Act through in the lame-duck session as they faced a Republican House and reduced Senate majority in this Congress.
Obama said that achieving immigration reform would require “the hard work of changing minds and changing hearts and changing votes, one at a time.”
In a March Gallup poll, 42 percent of respondents said they cared a “great deal” about illegal immigration (compared to 71 percent for the economy); an April 29 poll showed 45 percent giving the hat tip to Republicans in Congress for being able to do a better job on the issue, compared to 40 percent for Democrats.
Some congressional Democrats have indicated they may not support Obama’s re-election bid if he doesn’t move the stalled reform.