WASHINGTON – Launching a fresh effort toward a sweeping U.S. immigration overhaul, President Barack Obama said Thursday that a bipartisan bill on the “sensitive and volatile political issue” will be difficult but must get underway this year.
“It’s going it require some heavy lifting,” Obama said as he gathered about 30 lawmakers from both parties and across the ideological spectrum on immigration at a White House meeting. “It’s going to require a victory of practicality and common sense and good policy making over short-term politics. That’s what I’m committed to doing as president.”
Comprehensive change in immigration policy was a personal priority for Obama’s Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, who was so confident of its chances that he once told reporters: “I’ll see you at the bill signing.” But the bill collapsed in the Senate in 2007, mostly under the weight of criticism from conservatives who saw it as an amnesty bill that was publicly unpopular and politically untenable.
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