(Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)
By Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - President Obama expressed optimism on Wednesday that
Congress will have a bill that overhauls the nation's immigration laws
ready next month and that passage of the legislation can be completed by
"If we have a bill introduced at the beginning of
next month as these senators indicate it will be, then I'm confident
that we can get it done certainly before the end of the summer," Obama
said in an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo.
comments come as four members of the Senate's so-called "Gang of
Eight," including Arizona Republican John McCain and Democrat Charles
Schumer, took a tour of the Arizona-Mexico border on Wednesday.
Schumer told reporters after the tour that the lawmakers were 90% done with their work crafting the legislation.
Obama called on Congress this week to hustle up and get him an immigration bill as soon as possible.
president overwhelmingly won the Latino vote in his race against Mitt
Romney, but he's been criticized by some Latinos for failing to revamp
immigration in his first term and for a record number of deportations
being carried out under his watch.
In the Telemundo interview,
Obama dismissed the suggestion that there could be potential political
fallout for his party if the push on immigration falls short.
not concerned about the Democratic Party, I'm concerned about the
people whose actual lives are (going to) be impacted by it," Obama said.
"The most important thing is that we're seeing a strong
commitment to finally solve this problem in a way that strengthens our
border security, makes sure that there's a pathway to citizenship, an
earned one, a tough one, but a pathway so that people can live out their
dreams and make sure that they have a better life for themselves and
their kids," he said.
He also noted that he is reserving the option of introducing his own plan.
"I've got my own legislation I'm prepared to step in," Obama said. "But I don't think that's going to be necessary."