Speaking in Mexico, Obama Calls American Opponents of Immigration Amnesty ‘Demagogues’
August 14, 2009 - 8:34 AMAt a joint press conference with the Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Guadalajara, Mexico on Monday, President Barack Obama referred to American opponents of amnesty for illegal aliens as "demagogues."
Obama was in Guadalajara for a trilateral summit with Calderon and Harper.
Obama was asked by a reporter whether “given the fight that you're having to wage for health care, I wonder if you can tell us what you think the prospects are for immigration reform, for comprehensive immigration reform, which you've said is your goal; and whether you think that the blows you're taking now on health care and that the Democrats are likely to take around the midterm elections will make it hard, if not impossible, to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in this term and what you've told President Calderón about that?”
Obama gave a long answer indicating that he believed he could secure an immigration reform package that included a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants. In his answer, he characterized opponents of this “pathway” as “demagogues.”
“Now, am I going to be able to snap my fingers and get this done? No,” said Obama. “This is going to be difficult; it's going to require bipartisan cooperation. There are going to be demagogues out there who try to suggest that any form of pathway for legalization for those who are already in the United States is unacceptable. And those are fights that I'd have to have if my poll numbers are at 70 or if my poll numbers are at 40. That's just the nature of the U.S. immigration debate.
“But ultimately, I think the American people want fairness,” Obama continued. “And we can create a system in which you have strong border security, we have an orderly process for people to come in, but we're also giving an opportunity for those who are already in the United States to be able to achieve a pathway to citizenship so that they don't have to live in the shadows, and their children and their grandchildren can have a full participation in the United States. So I'm confident we can get it done.”