Photo: Barack Obama (Amanda Lucidon)
President Barack Obama’s proclaimed readiness to accommodate a piecemeal approach to immigration reform to facilitate its approval in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has been received with skepticism by Republicans.
Pro-reform activists, in the meantime, have interpreted Obama’s approach as one more example of the president’s flexibility and willingness to work with the Republicans.
Obama on Tuesday opened the door to a piecemeal reform by saying that Republicans are “suspicious of comprehensive bills.”
“If they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don’t care what it looks like, as long as it’s actually delivering on those core values that we talk about,” the president told business executives at an event with The Wall Street Journal CEO Council.
Among the program’s key elements cited by Obama are strengthening the country’s borders, modernizing the visa system and opening a path toward citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in the United States.
The statement by Obama, who has made immigration reform one of the priorities of his second term, does not seem to have made an impression on Republican lawmakers, however.
“If we are trying to cram and rush just because it’s the calendar year, we don’t think that’s responsible,” Rep. Paul Ryan of Illinois said at the WSJ gathering.
In addition, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, one of the main opponents of the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate, responded with skepticism about the move in the House.
“It’s not step-by-step if the individual bills are combined into a comprehensive proposal in a backroom negotiation and delivered to the president’s desk,” he said in a statement.
House Speaker John Boehner said last week that the lower chamber would not take up the Senate bill before the end of this year.