Immigration revamp possible this year, senator says

The Associated PressJune 25, 2009 

— A senator leading the Democrats' push to revise the nation's immigration laws this year said Wednesday that it can be done if his party and immigration advocates get tough on illegal immigration.

"The public is tired of the rhetoric and wants a real solution," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's immigration subcommittee.

Schumer spoke out the day before President Barack Obama meets with lawmakers from both parties in hopes of starting a full-scale debate on a plan to rework immigration policy before the end of the year.

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said the administration is not ready to say when a proposal will be developed. Instead, today's gathering of officials from across the ideological spectrum is meant as a starting point.

"You should expect an honest discussion of the issues where we can identify areas of agreement and areas where we still have work to do," Shapiro said.

The White House meeting was originally scheduled for earlier this month but was postponed twice, leading many to question whether Obama intended to keep his campaign pledge to revamp immigration this year.

Obama said at a Hispanic prayer breakfast last week that he is committed to a comprehensive immigration overhaul that includes a way for illegal immigrants to become U.S. citizens. He also said he supports strengthening U.S. borders to thwart illegal immigration.

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