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‘Qué Pasa’ in Immigration: Interview with Obama; ICE Memo; Hazleton; Congress Returns

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Over the weekend, Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión (Los Angeles) printed the second segment of its exclusive interview with President Barack Obama, in which the president said he’d defer to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on whether to go forward with the DREAM Act and told supporters of comprehensive immigration reform to direct their frustration at its opponents rather than at him. Continued changes in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy to be more lenient to certain categories of undocumented immigrants and a federal Court of Appeals ruling striking down Hazleton, Pennsylvania’s anti-immigrant law are also top stories for the Spanish-language press.

Interview with Obama. In this segment of the La Opinión interview, which tackled the issue of immigration reform, Obama signaled his support for the proposed DREAM Act as part of a comprehensive reform package, but said he was open to discussing pushing it on its own as a “down payment” on reform if the Congressional Hispanic Caucus sees that as a viable strategy. Obama stated:

“If in discussions with the Hispanic Caucus there’s a sense that there’s an opportunity to do this and that it would be helpful to provide a down payment on comprehensive immigration reform, I’m happy to have that conversation. I don’t want anyone to think that if we pass the DREAM Act in whatever form, that will solve the problem.”

The president restated his commitment to reform and spoke about the frustration various groups and interests have expressed to him on the issue, but added:

“I think what’s been interesting has been the degree to which people have been expressing their frustration with me, someone who supports immigration reform, rather than critics—in some cases—the people who are opposed to it. That doesn’t make sense. I’m a strong ally, like no one in the Oval Office has ever been, when it comes to solving this problem.”

Univision.com and EFE also reported on the interview.