Gutierrez: Obama Finally 'Assertive' on Immigration Reform

June 29, 2010 7:59 PM

ABC News' Devin Dwyer reports:

President Obama today met with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus at the White House to discuss comprehensive immigration reform ahead of his planned Thursday address on the issue from American University.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who introduced comprehensive legislation in the House in December and has been critical of the administration for not championing its passage, said he’s convinced the administration is finally taking immigration reform seriously.

“For months we have been demanding that this administration take action and be the lead on comprehensive immigration reform. And then, from the White House, we hear a president that’s committed and assertive and in command and in charge,” he said following the meeting. “So I think this Thursday we’re going to hear the president speak to the nation to have comprehensive immigration reform and why it’s important for him as a president.” Gutierrez said the president intends to use the speech to outline details of his proposal for addressing the nation’s estimated 10.8 million undocumented immigrants, which is expected to include some form of a conditional path to legal residency.

“It’s obviously not going to be more on enforcement. He’s done a lot of that already. He can only expand from there,” Gutierrez said, referring to criticism from immigrant advocates that the administration has heretofore solely focused on beefing up security along the border and deporting a record number of undocumented immigrants.

Gutierrez said Obama declined to discuss details of the administration’s challenge to the Arizona law, deferring to the Department of Justice. But, he said, the president agreed that the law’s pending implementation may help to build a sense of urgency towards legislative action on immigration this year.

- Devin Dwyer

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