President Barack Obama traveled to Texas’ border with Mexico Tuesday and called on Congress to work with him on a plan to give millions of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, saying there is an economic imperative.
Speaking at El Paso, Texas, the president said his administration has gone above and beyond in securing the border.
He said it should satisfy Republican lawmakers who said that wanted border security before they would consider reform, but he was not counting on it.
"Even though we’ve answered these concerns, I’ve got to say I suspect there’s still going to be some who try to move the goalposts on us one more time," said Obama. "You know, they said we needed to triple the border patrol. Well now, they’re going to say we to to quadruple the border patrol, or they’ll want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat."
Republicans dispute the president’s claims that the border has been effectively secured and accuse him of playing politics to win Hispanic votes.
Members of Make the Road New York, a local local immigration advocacy group, gathered in their headquarters of Jackson Heights, Queens to watch Obama’s speech and said in statements that they supported the president’s call for reform.
"I hope to see him use that power to stop his enforcement-only approach to fixing our immigration system and create relief for millions of undocumented immigrants," said MRNY leader Jose Quizhpilema in a statement.
"I know that many immigrants voted for President Obama based on his pledge to take action on this issue, and I hope we see some concrete steps in the near future. Actions will speak louder than words when it comes to immigration reform," said MRNY leader Cesar Palomeque in a statement.
This came as a federal judge halted an immigration law in Utah from coming into effect Tuesday.
The law, which would allow police to check the immigration status of arrested suspects, is similar to a controversial measure passed in Arizona.
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