President Obama rolled out his own call for comprehensive immigration reform, one day after a bipartisan team of senators did the same.
Although he addressed a campaign-style rally audience in Nevada, the majority of his message was directed at Congress, 2,400 miles away.
The president claimed that the debate was over, that there was already substantial consensus in place, and that “this time, action should follow.” If Congress couldn’t get anything passed in a timely fashion, he warned that he would then send his own legislation and insist that they vote on it right away.
The president listed what his administration had already done about immigration, including claims that illegal border crossings had decreased by 80% and that there were more “boots on the ground” than ever before. He also lauded his own executive order version of the DREAM Act.
He outlined what he thought needed to be the main points in comprehensive legislation.
His points called for a continued focus on enforcement, including penalties on businesses that hire illegal immigrants, and a national system to quickly identify legal immigrants so that businesses can be penalized more effectively. He also called for a clear pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers currently in the country, as well as provisions that make immigration possible and attractive to foreign students and entrepeneurs — namely, as he actually said, the Einsteins and the Carnegies of the 21st Century.
The president left for Nevada at 9:25 am and will return to Washington tonight at about 9:00 pm.