Obama turns to CEOs to ‘amplify’ push for immigration reform

Activists for immigration reform demonstrate in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Annette Bernhardt via Flickr under Creative Commons license. Terms below.)

Activists for immigration reform demonstrate in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Annette Bernhardt via Flickr under Creative Commons license. Terms below.)

 | Voxxi

With a few working days left in this legislative session, President Obama is turning to business leaders, many of whom have allied with Republicans in the past, to press the GOP-controlled House to act on immigration reform.

On Tuesday, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with a group of CEOs at the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss how they can work together to ensure Congress approves immigration reform legislation this year.

“What I’m going to be talking to the business community about is how we can continue to amplify this issue in the coming weeks,” Obama said before meeting with business leaders. “There’s no reason why we can’t get this done before the end of the year.”

Among the business leaders who met with the president were McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, State Farm CEO Edward Rust, and Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman. Obama descried these business leaders as individuals who are “deeply committed to making sure that we get comprehensive immigration reform done, and done quickly.”

During the meeting, Obamas pushed for the Senate-approved immigration bill, which includes provisions to strengthen border security and pave a path citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He said the bill is supported not only by the business community, but also by a broad coalition of groups, even some “unlikely bedfellows.”

Despite the broad support for the Senate bill, Obama said there’s been “some resistance” from House Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner who has rejected the Senate bill in the past.

“What’s been encouraging is, is that there are a number of House Republicans who have said, ‘We think this is the right thing to do, as well,’” the president said. “And it’s my estimation that we actually have votes to get comprehensive immigration reform done in the House right now.”

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