WASHINGTON - (AP) - President Barack Obama today blamed immigration policy gridlock on "political posturing and specialinterest wrangling."
In a speech, Obama took Republicans to task, inparticular 11 GOP senators who supported recent efforts to improvethe immigration system. He did not name any in particular, but toldhis largely supportive audience at American University that thoselawmakers had succumbed to the "pressures of partisanship andelection-year politics."
Seeking to rally new momentum to an issue that many advocateshad hoped would be completed by this point, Obama laid out hisrationale for a comprehensive approach to fixing what he andothers, Republicans included, say is a broken immigration system.
He said the problem cannot be solved "only with fences andborder patrols" but said the government should be held accountablefor its responsibility to secure the border. Obama also saidbusinesses should face consequences for knowingly employing illegalimmigrants and that those who enter the country illegally shouldown up to their actions before they can begin the process ofbecoming citizens.
"The question now is whether we will have the courage and thepolitical will to pass a bill through Congress, to finally get itdone," the president said. "I'm ready to move forward, themajority of Democrats are ready to move forward and I believe themajority of Americans are ready to move forward. But the fact isthat without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, wecannot solve this problem."
"Reform that brings accountability to our immigration systemcannot pass without Republican votes," he said. "That is thepolitical and mathematical reality."