Obama proposes new plan for illegal immigrants

July 1, 2010 6:59:09 PM PDT
As the Department of Justice prepares to go to court against Arizona's new immigration law, President Obama is trying to seize the initiative on the issue. He has a new plan for illegal immigrants and wants it enacted before November.

Arizona's new law has pushed immigration into the political spotlight -- those on the left want the administration to act, while those on the right want to blame the administration for not acting.

Outside the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Office in San Francisco, there was a demonstration on Thursday morning in support of President Obama's call for comprehensive immigration reform.

"We heard many good words this morning and we are here to pray for action," Debora Lee from the Interfaith Coalition said.

Part of what the president said is that sending everyone home who is in the country illegally isn't practicle or possible.

"Migrant workers mostly here illegally have been the labor force for our farmers and agricultural producers for generations," President Obama said on Thursday.

He called for a guest worker program and for a path towards legal status for those already in The U.S.

"They should be required to register pay their taxes pay a fine and learn English," the president said.

On Good Morning America, Senate candidate Carly Fiorina agreed with the need for a guest worker program, but said blamed the Obama administration for failing to secure the border.

"Border security is the federal government's job and it should remain the federal government's job and unfortunately the federal government isn't doing its job," she said.

This past weekend, representative Pete Stark, D-Fremont, was asked why the government isn't securing the borders, and Stark did not take the question seriously.

"We can't get enough Minutemen armed we'd like to get them armed so that they would stop shooting people. It's not our job, we're just citizens," he said during a town hall meeting in Belmont on June 26.

The video has had tens of thousands of hits since Steve Kemp posted it on YouTube.

"Hopefully this video wakes some people up," he said.

Kemp, a member of the Minutemen, the Tea Party and Glenn Beck's 9.12 organization, says he's not just after Stark.

"You have Nancy Pelosi, Boxer, Harry Reid and the Obama administration basically doing what they want to do. And the American public overall are against what they're doing but they're doing what they want to anyway," he said.

But the most recent poll on immigration from two weeks ago, shows that 57 percent of those polled believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay if they pay a fine, get in line and meet other requirements, which sounds like what the president is proposing.

"But as he says in his speech that does no guarantee that the Republicans are going to go along," ABC7 Political Analyst Bruce Cain said.

Cain says republicans know that a call for border security also polls well and will motivate conservative voters.

"Which means they're not going to cooperate on any bill over the next few months, but I think I'm sure the administration felt they had to put something forward to do nothing would've been even worse," he said.

On Thursday, the president said there are more boots on the ground at the border than ever before in the country's history. He also claimed that illegal border crossings are down and so is border area crime.

His opponents will be out pitching a much different picture and immigration seems destined to be an issue in the November elections.


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