Reaction to Obama's first speech on immigration - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Reaction to Obama's first speech on immigration

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - President Obama says the immigration system is broken, and he's pushing for reform. This, as Arizona's controversial new law goes into effect this month. Some GOP leaders are criticizing an amnesty proposal by the president.

President Obama says his administration is ready to tackle the emotionally charged issue of comprehensive immigration reform. But instead of offering facts for change, he pointed fingers of blame.

"Without bipartisan support, as we had a just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem," Obama said.

Obama said our borders are too big for fences, and that reform should include a pathway to citizenship for the country's 11 million illegal immigrants, but details on that path were not included in today's speech.

Christian Ramirez from the American Friends Service Committee was disappointed that the President didn't push congress to introduce a bill. He believes politics -- specifically upcoming elections -- and a fear by Democrats that this issue will cost them seats, played a role in the Obama's words. But he says doing nothing won't help the democrats either.

"If we leave it alone, if there's no leadership, we are going to have polarizing issues like the one in Arizona make it again into the campaign trail and that's what we want to avoid. We want a clear pathway on how we'll address this issue, not just talk about it," Ramirez said.

As for bi-partisan support, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) 50th District says Obama can get it, but he has to listen to them too.

"People on both sides of the aisle agree, let's concentrate on the employers, let's concentrate on a simple system of verification and only after we've controlled illegal immigration should we be talking about this other stuff," Bilbray said.

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