Obama heads to Texas to push immigration overhaul

Obama heads to Texas to push immigration overhaul
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 - 1:01pm

EL PASO — President Barack Obama, visiting the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time as president, is trying to build pressure on Republicans to take on comprehensive immigration legislation — while showing vital Hispanic voters that he is not the one standing in the way.

Obama's speech in El Paso, Texas, Tuesday afternoon will mark an attempt by the White House to escalate the debate over immigration despite opposition from majority House Republicans to legislation offering a pathway to citizenship to the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants.

Instead of trying to make deals on Capitol Hill — where even some Republicans who once supported a comprehensive overhaul have turned against it — Obama is taking his argument to the country, using the singular megaphone of the presidency to try to build a groundswell of support for legislation.

It comes as many Latino voters, believing that the president never made good on his campaign promise to tackle immigration laws in the first year of his presidency, want to see him do more. They want Obama not just to push legislation but to act unilaterally to slow some deportations, something the president has refused to do.

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