Obama Pushes Immigration Reform to 2010, Jokes About Being Called "an Illegal Immigrant"

Obama talked at the White House with Hispanic media reporters. (Photo: The White House)

Obama talked at the White House with Hispanic media reporters. (Photo: The White House)

Another Friday afternoon statement from the White House means another bit of bad news for immigration reform advocates. This time, President Barack Obama met with correspondents from Hispanic media outlets and said he expects Congress to deal with immigration early next year.

The new statement pushes Obama farther away from his commitment to deal with the issue during his first year in office — a promise he made to Latino voters he badly needed to carry some swing states in the 2008 election.

On Friday, Obama met with a group of 10 reporters including representatives of wire services Notimex (Mexico), Reuters and EFE, and from Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión. Although he said he didn’t know if the bill would get enough votes, he said he expects Congress to deal with immigration reform by “early next year.”

For this, Obama said a bill should be drafted by the end of 2009.

“Now, will we be able to mobilize the votes to pass something? That I can’t predict,” he said, according to Notimex.

According to Reuters, Obama said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will meet with lawmakers regularly to work through the more controversial measures, like legalization for an estimated 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants and how to prevent illegal immigration in the future.

“We have convened a meeting of all the relevant stakeholders, and Secretary Napolitano is working with the group to start creating the framework for a comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama was quoted by Reuters.

The wire service reported Obama even joked about the so-called “birthers,” a fringe group who accuse the president of being unable to prove he was born in U.S. and who claim his actual birthplace is Mombasa, Kenya, making him ineligible to be president.

Asked if an immigration bill would have enough votes to pass Congress, Obama said he did not know. He also noted as a further complication that next year is an election year.

Obama joked that his opponents had another reason to block his immigration reform effort: “There are many members of the Republican Party who think now that I am illegal immigrant,” he said.

After hearing about this latest postponement, those in the pro-immigration camp –including reform activists, Hispanic advocates and progressive Democrats in general– are probably not in the mood for jokes.

“The deadlines for immigration reform seem to get farther and farther away,” wrote La Opinión reporter Antonieta Cádiz, “especially now, after (the president) said openly … he expected the bill to be introduced next year in Congress.”

“First there was talk of getting a draft ready by the summer recess; then the chairman of the (Senate) Immigration sub-committee, Charles Schumer, mentioned Labor Day as a deadline to have a proposal ready.

“A few days ago, the lawmaker told La Opinión that by that deadline he would only have a ‘broad draft, with no legislative language.’ And now the president stated that in the fall he will see ‘what progress has been made’ (…)”

Cádiz reported that Obama told the reporters that there are many issues on his agenda and that health care reform –which will probably take “a couple of months”– will be his main focus after August, and he also has to deal with reforming the financial system.

Obama added he can’t get immigration reform passed on his own. “It’s important that people realize that things don’t happen because the President snaps his fingers. I can’t do all this by myself,” he said. He asked that grassroots groups continue to organize and mobilize for reform and that members of Congress face the political risks involved.

When the La Opinión reporter pressed him about his continuation of President George W. Bush’s immigration enforcement policies, Obama said his administration is “less concerned with making criminals out of people who are simply looking for a job.” He defended the decision to extend the 287 (g) program which allows immigration enforcement by local authorities, saying that there is a “new set of priorities and rules” for it.


  1. Obama campaigned on a promise to tackle comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) in his first year in office, a promise that has officially been broken. This promise was used as a tool to attract the much needed Hispanic vote.

    Many immigration advocates do not believe that CIR will ever be addressed by the Obama administration, and instead the issue will be used as a carrot that will be dangled when the President seeks reelection in 2012.

  2. Dan

    I am sorry to hear that this country has little regard and respect for the millions of workers who are giving their soul to make this a better country. It is a shame that the United States hides instead of facing this human rights problem. I hope that our future generations feel as ashamed for us today as we feel for the slavery in the South, the Atomic Bombs in Japan,the limitation of voting right for African Americans and women. Enough is enough.

  3. Gloria

    Talk bout why poll numbers are going down for Obama. It is unbelievable how disrespectfully he has officially broken his promise of tackling immigration reform in his first year in office. Latinos do not forget. And they will not forget this insult. After many of us gave our heart to support him for for this election… If he and his advisers are planning to use this as a carrot for 2012, they don’t know our culture well. He can start thinking about losing the next election.

  4. Varmi

    How easy it is for people to quickly judge the President and not recognize the enormous task at hand. Off-setting health care industry’s fortune$$$ and their efforts to ensure we don’t see reform, hurding Members of Congress to make the correct votes and remind them of their responsibilities (to make decisions that will benefit their constituents), and counter the misinformation that is being sent to millions of Americans about the facts of reform be it health care or immigration. Not progressing on immigration reform will be part two of the right’s efforts to make sure the President does not succeed and make good on his promises. Part one is health care and it is astounding to me to see at what price that side is willing to pay to defeat the man we overwhelmingly elected. Wake up.

    How naive to

  5. Vickie

    Gloria wrote that Obama is breaking a promise to Latinos by not tackling immigration reform.


    He has found that he needs to go a bit slower before Americans take to the streets in protest. What do you think Americans would do if we got citizenship right after a national plan is put in place that we would have access to? They would probably riot. He hasn’t forgotten his Latino friends – be patient.

  6. I am speechless. I totally agree with Dan and Gloria. How quickly has he forgotten what he said in his acceptance speech – that he owed his victory to the youth and to Latinos! Way to thank us Obama!

  7. Karen

    I do belive that president Obama will keep his promise. We just got to be patient and belive that things happen when they are suppose to happen and that God has a greater plan than the one we had for ourselves.

  8. BoulderJR

    Let’s hope the delay means that amnesty will not pass. Many, if not most, of those working in this country illegally are using false or stolen social security nunbers. Doing so is a felony. Why should illegals get a free pass when Americans don’t. I voted for Obama, but will not do so again if he pushes amnesty.

  9. God has nothing to do with man made decision in life. We all make our choices according to our own belief in life it self, because god knows the out comes of every moves we make in the universe . So learn love your leaders even if it means go over a cliff at end of the day who cares what happens.

  10. Immigration reform after the next presidential elections would be the best time. It is sweet just like jesus blood who cares if any body never get to see the sign of Christ, life will goes on after all.

  11. His first year is not over ladies and gents…so why not sit down the h8terade and give the guy a chance? Or is this just one of those many blogs that play “gotcha” and are simply looking for haters to drive traffic? Bush spent us into oblivion on a war that was useless…then bailed out wall street to the tuned of 1 trillion, (redistribution of wealth, thank you) but you’re all over BO because he’s not tackling immigration in six months… LOL short sighted if I must say so…

  12. aboveaverageamerican

    Wellllllllllllllllllllllllll………………………….I though we live in the best country of this planet where people….”Congress” is able to tackle things concurrently!!!!!!!!!!!SERIALY WE WILL NEVE SUCCEED!!!

  13. For “the floacist”

    I understand hispanics are not the ONLY immigrants but they are majority though, I think that’s why Matthew said that.

    Anyway, I agree with Matthew and most of ppl here, he just wanted to be elected regardless of anything else. he only cared about himself and did not care about families being separated. It was just blah blah blah all he said with this regard, he got what he wanted and now he is just enjoying his fame!

  14. Gunther

    “We have convened a meeting of all the relevant stakeholders, and Secretary Napolitano is working with the group to start creating the framework for a comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama was quoted by Reuters.

    Anyone know who the relevant stakeholders are?

  15. Lizzie

    This country does not need immigration reform. What it needs is to obey the immigration laws we already have. If you want a better life fine, but come here legally. Just because you have the advantage of living next door to the U.S. and being able to sneak in does not make it right. The American taxpayers, me included are tired of picking up the tab for the illegal latino corporate slaves and their anchor babies. End birthright citizenship and stop all taxpayer funded freebies to illegals. No amnesty now or ever.

  16. kiowa

    Obama better not start this, Our Country is on its back now with job loss, economy. If he thought it was to much to put on taxpayers to pay for hip surgery for his grandmother it sure in the heck wouldn’t be right to put millions of illegals on our back. He better send them home.

  17. Pingback: Entrevista en radio pública de Nueva York: Obama y la Reforma Migratoria « The Daily DG

  18. Cassandra

    After african slavery and japanese concentration camps at the turn of wwII, one could only rationale that racial based hatred is not only ridicoulous, and useless but makes a mockary of “The United States” if you can call it that….

    LIZZIE immigrants would come here legally if they could, but due to the poor immigration laws he currently have, its nearly impossible thus leaving the only option to enter illegally.

    Immigrants spend thousands paying strangers to cross them over and face harm and death….do you really think they would pay coyoties to go through all that if they could pay to become legal and enter safely?

    todays Immigration laws contridict themselves so much that right when you begin to think you have it figured out, your back at square 1.

    If the laws were more clearly put out and gave honest hard working immigrants a chance, everyone would win. Families would be reunited and the fines and filing fees for obtaining legal status would generate millions of dollars for americas economy.

    A common misconception for the unimformed, wrongly imformed, or just plain stubborn person is that “immigrants take taxpayer money”

    FALSE immigrants generate thoundsands of unclamied taxes that go to uncle same and back out into schools, highways, etc and they also shop here for clothes food cars and stimulate the economy.

    You pay for their medical bills? why? because you voted too! Immigrants cant vote, CITIZENS do, and we vote for Humanaterian Aid to all who need it….immigrants didnt ask for it, you gave it to them.

    Immigrants do not take jobs but generate more. When immigrants work they earn money, they shop at stores that need employees to supply the damand of goods being purchased through immigrants givingg some companies the need to expand with more stores that need more employees.

    Todays umemployement has NOTHING to do with immigration….seriously stop blaming those who cant fight back. It is people like Berny Madoff and other CEOS that steal from you. Wall street as it was in the 1920’s is the reason why Americas people were jobless.

    it is time that immigrants….mexican….asian…european….or whatever it may be fight back and gain civil rights once and for all.

  19. isabelle

    I think most candidates for president usually say things,just to get votes ,to win the presidency;then when they win they don’t do anything they said they would do. This is a goddamn shame how illegal people are treated. No! Not all of them are drug-dealing-rapist-criminals!! Mostly they are very hard working people, just trying to live a freakin’normal life,trying to do simple every day things that;MOST AMERICANS TAKE FOR GRANTED.

    How sick are people,to think that illegal immigrants shouldn’t be here..that it’s not their land. Well–??

    Just think about it, the only land it belongs to are the Native Americans..It is truly THEIR land,and they can say that it is their land and they can say it was stolen. A white american,who’s ancestors ‘IMMIGRATED’ from europe should have an understanding of an illegal immigrant coming here to make their life better.

    I don’t judge illegals. I treat everyone the same,regardless of their immigration status.I’ve met illegal people that you wouldn’t even know that they were that. I really,think that everybody with the same idea as me,that everyone should be treated equal..that the illegals that have been here should be legal..We should all come together and stand up for this sickening disease called slavery in american of the 21st century.

  20. jvilla

    we dont need immigration reform, if they dont want to be in the shadows then they have to go home! if they dont want to be deported, then self deport, if they want a better life for their family tell calderon you need food stamps, wic, welfare, medicaid, mexico is sending all their poor and uneducated so we can educate their illegal children and for us to keep them on food stamps how long do these people need to be on food stamps some have been on food stamps more than 5 years thats the reason they wont go home. and yes stupids if an illegal has an american child they qualify for food stamps thats the reason they stay no matter what . calderon does not care about mexicans he just sends them to us to we can feed them

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