Despite the fact that federal, state and local governments are reeling from a fiscal crisis, President Barack Obama is sticking to plans to help an estimated 12 million illegal aliens gain citizenship.
Last week, Obama called into Univision Radio's Eddie "Piolin" Sotelo show, fulfilling a promise to be a guest if elected.
"I promised you that I would be on the show when I was president, and here I am on the show," Obama told Sotelo.
Asked by Sotelo about the issue of immigration, Obama promised action soon.
Obama said: "Well, as I've said every time I’ve been on the show, Piolín, we're going to make sure that we begin the process of dealing with the immigration system that's broken. We're going to start by really trying to work on how to improve the current system so that people who want to be naturalized, who want to become citizens, like you did, that they are able to do it; that it's cheaper, that it's faster, that they have an easier time in terms of sponsoring family members. And then we've got to have comprehensive immigration reform."
Obama added he was "very committed" to move on the immigration issue in the next several months.
Obama admitted that pushing citizenship for illegals is difficult today.
The idea "is probably tougher now that it was, partly because of the fact that the economy has gotten worse,’’ he said. “So what I've got to do is I’ve got to focus on the economy. I've got to focus on housing, and make sure that people feel a little bit more secure; at the same time, get the various immigrant rights groups together and have them start providing some advice in terms of what strategies we're going to pursue in Congress."
In 2006, Congress sought to pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill, but the Senate and House could not agree on a compromise over the thorny issue of giving 12 million illegals citizenship.
Republicans now fear that Obama and Congressional Democrats are pushing for amnesty to increase Democratic electoral chances. New immigrants vote overwhelmingly Democratic, studies show.
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