Obama Pledges to Keep Fighting for Immigration Reform

Posted July 25th, 2011 at 2:35 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama has pledged to keep fighting for immigration reform, saying the country knows changes are needed but that Washington is “way behind” on the issue.

The president spoke Monday to a leading Hispanic civil rights group. He said the nation's immigration system is “broken,” and he said there is more political benefit for lawmakers to do what is easier for re-election than what is best for the country.

In his address to the National Council of La Raza, he described the immigration issue as “unfinished business.” He called for national reform, saying that having different laws in each state does not solve the problem.

La Raza, the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, expects 25,000 people to attend its four-day conference and Latino family expo in Washington.

Mr. Obama's address follows a recent White House-hosted Hispanic policy conference, months of intense outreach to Hispanic voters and a big push on immigration.

Hispanics, a rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population, gave crucial support to Mr. Obama's 2008 election. But the president has faced intense criticism from the Hispanic community for failing to act on the immigration issue during his first two years in office, and for the deportation of nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants last year.

An estimated 12 million people are in the United States illegally.

Republicans have accused the president of not securing the country's borders.