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Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Angela M. Kelley on President Obama’s Meeting with Senate Republicans
Press Statement

STATEMENT: Angela M. Kelley on President Obama’s Meeting with Senate Republicans

Washington, D.C. – "President Barack Obama today addressed the Senate Republican caucus to ask for their cooperation in addressing a number of issues, including immigration.

"President Obama noted in the closed-door meeting that the administration is doing everything possible to secure the border—from adding more boots on the ground to installing new surveillance technology. He also reminded the Republican senators that the immigration system cannot be fixed by border security alone, and it is time for bipartisan talks to begin again on a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"The president’s outreach should jog the memories of the many sitting Republican senators—such as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the architect of the 2006 immigration bill—who have long records of supporting comprehensive immigration reform but have recently refused to negotiate on that approach, reverting instead to calling for narrow and ineffective enforcement-only measures.

"The Center for American Progress is hopeful that the president’s trip to Capitol Hill today was not his last, but is the start of many conversations the White House will hold with members of Congress on the pressing issue of revamping our beleaguered immigration system. Americans’ frustration with lawmakers was sadly made evident by the passage of the recent law in Arizona. As bipartisan polls released today by America’s Voice show, those who support the Arizona law are more likely to support comprehensive immigration reform when given that option.

"The president did not arrive on Capitol Hill empty handed. The president has formally proposed dispatching 1,200 additional National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border for one year—until more border agents are trained and in place—and finishing up technology work in Arizona. The president’s call for the guard may be needed in the short term, but it is hard to imagine that the National Guard today will be any more successful than a similar deployment by the previous administration in 2006.

"The conversations on immigration in Washington are sadly lopsided. With more troops heading to the border, we cannot afford to let the comprehensive debate get sidetracked. The president and Congress need to move from talk to action and deliver reform that meets America’s economic and national security needs."

Angela Kelley is available for comment. To speak with her, please contact Suzi Emmerling at 202-481-8224 or [email protected].

Vanessa Cárdenas, Directora de Progress 2050, y Louis Caldera, Miembro Senior para American Progress están disponibles para brindar análisis en español sobre este tema. Para hablar con ellos, favor de comunicarse con Raúl Arce-Contreras al [email protected] o 202.478.5318.