President Barack Obama has warned lawmakers that he will introduce his own immigration reform legislation if Congress fails to act on the issue.
The White House said the warning from Obama came as he held a meeting Wednesday with the Senate Democrats involved in a bipartisan effort to pass immigration reform.
Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.., Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Michael Bennet, D-Col., attended the meeting along with Vice President Joe Biden.
Last month, the four Democratic Senators teamed up with Republican Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to hammer out an agreement on immigration reform.
During the meeting, Obama reiterated the key principles he believes must be a part of commonsense immigration reform, including continuing to strengthen border security, creating an earned path to citizenship, holding employers accountable, and streamlining legal immigration.
While the proposal outlined by the Senators ties providing a path to citizenship to further increases in border security, Obama said that the two issues should not be seen as mutually exclusive.
The president claimed that the border is more secure today than any time in history, although he acknowledged that further progress should be a priority as part of reform.
Obama has seen a notable improvement in public approval of his handling of immigration in recent months, according to the results of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released last Wednesday.
The poll showed that 49 percent of Americans now approve of the way Obama is handling immigration issues compared to 43 percent that disapprove.
While the president still lacks majority approval on the issue, the latest results reflect a notable improvement from a poll conducted in July, when 52 percent disapproved of his handling of immigration and just 38 percent approved.
Obama has benefited from increases in support among Democrats and independents, while a vast majority of Republicans continue to disapprove of his handling of immigration.
A separate Washington Post poll released Tuesday showed that a majority of Americans support providing illegal immigrants with a pathway to citizenship, although support for the proposal drops sharply when Obama's name is attached.
The poll showed that 70 percent of Americans favor creating a way for illegal immigrants already in the country to become citizens if they meet certain requirements, while 27 percent oppose the idea.
However, support for the idea drops to 59 percent if Obama's name is attached to the proposal, with support among Republicans plummeting to 39 percent from 60 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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