WASHINGTON: Time is running out to pass immigration reform before the approach of the mid-term elections effectively precludes congressional action, U.S. President Barack Obama said during a meeting with leaders of law enforcement.
Obama insisted in his meeting that border security is a priority for his government within the parameters of which the new U.S. immigration system must conform.
"The immigration system that we have right now makes it harder, not easier, for law enforcement agencies to do their jobs," the president said.
"It makes it harder for business owners who play by the rules to compete when they're undercut by those who would exploit workers in a shadow economy."
Obama stressed his administration's commitment to border security.
"We have put unprecedented resources at the borders, and you've seen the results. We have fewer folks coming in than ever before," he said.
"You wouldn't be here if you didn't agree with us that this is time for us to go ahead and get moving" on immigration reform, the president told the law enforcement leaders.
"But we've got this narrow window. The closer we get to the midterm elections, the harder it is to get things done around here."
Pointing to estimates that more than 80 percent of undocumented migrants have been in the country for at least a decade, he spoke of "folks who are woven into the fabrics of our communities".
The more conservative wing of the Republican Party refuses to consider any language in a prospective immigration bill that sets forth a path to citizenship for the almost 12 million undocumented immigrants who are calculated to be living in this country.
In addition, the Republicans argue that the bill is not sufficiently reliable in terms of border security.