(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama referred to illegal aliens in the United States as “us” on Tuesday while renewing his call for giving them a “pathway to citizenship”—an amnesty--and castigating opponents of such an amnesty as demagogues.
Obama’s made the statement at what the White House billed as a “backyard discussion” at a private home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It came in the midst of a 754-word answer he gave in response to a woman who asked: “How do you envision a comprehensive immigration reform as one measure towards America’s economic recovery and long-term vitality?”
“Let’s provide a pathway to citizenship for those who are already here, understanding that they broke the law, so they’re going to have to pay a fine and pay back taxes and, I think, learn English, make sure that they don’t have a criminal record,” said Obama. “There are some hoops that they’re going to have to jump through, but giving them a pathway is the right thing to do.
“Now, unfortunately, right now this is getting demagogued,” Obama said. “A lot of folks think it’s an easy way to score political points is by trying to act as if there’s a ‘them’ and an ‘us,’ instead of just an ‘us.’ And I’m always suspicious of politics that is dividing people instead of bringing them together. I think now is the time for us to come together.”
Obama lamented that his effort to push for “comprehensive immigration reform” is hampered by U.S. Senate rules that require 60 votes to move legislation to a final vote and by the fact that a number of Republicans have changed their minds on the immigration issue in recent years and now oppose amnesty.
“So this is a priority that I continue to have,” said Obama. “Frankly, the problem I’ve had right now is that--and I don’t want to get into sort of inside baseball by Washington. But basically the rules in the United States Senate have evolved so that if you don’t have 60 votes, you can’t get anything through the United States Senate right now. And several years ago, we had 11 Republican senators who were willing to vote for comprehensive immigration reform, including John McCain. They’ve all reversed themselves. I can’t get any of them to cooperate. And I don’t have 60 Democrats in the Senate.”