Top Democrat Attacks Obama Over Immigration Inaction

Saturday, 08 Dec 2012 12:25 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, the prominent Hispanic Democrat who campaigned heavily for President Barack Obama in swing states, is complaining the president isn’t playing an active role in immigration reform talks.

Gutierrez told The Hill that with senators and House members from both parties talking, and top leaders saying immigration reform is an important priority, Obama should be taking a more active role in the talks.

Gutierrez, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Immigration Task Force, has often criticized Obama for not doing more to pass immigration reform during his first term, including in April 2010, when he threatened to urge Latino voters to skip the midterm elections if Democrats didn’t work harder on the overhaul.

Even though he backed Obama in the election, Gutierrez is now working to make sure immigration reform remains a priority and not get bumped off the legislative agenda like when healthcare and Wall Street took top billing.

Obama, though, has said immigration reform is a top priority in his second term. However, the White House now says Obama is working on avoiding the “fiscal cliff” that looms for the end of the year.

Gutierrez wants Obama to convene a bipartisan summit on immigration reform, possibly using Camp David for negotiations. On Friday, he said a Camp David summit may not produce an agreement but it would answer questions about where policies stand.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who led efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation in 2006, along with other lawmakers, have started having discussions, and says legislators are interested in making progress on the issue.

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