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White House Press Secretary Questioned on DREAM Act, Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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This just in, from today’s press briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

White House
Dec. 21, 2010

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Holds White House Regular News Briefing

QUESTION: Thanks, Robert. Two topics, please. On the president’s meeting with the Hispanic Caucus, which is going on now, I assume.

GIBBS: Yes. 

QUESTION: Can you give us a bit of detail about what the mission of that meeting is, and whether…

GIBBS: Well, look, I think we’ll have a readout from — from the meeting when it concludes.

Obviously, I think both the president and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus wanted to talk about a series of issues, including how to move forward on the disappointing end to this session as it relates to the DREAM Act, and what can be done in the next session.

QUESTION: Do you think that there is executive action the president can take since that resolution fell short?

GIBBS: Executive action to (inaudible)

QUESTION: Specifically as it relates to what the DREAM Act was intended to do?

GIBBS: I’d have to check with counsel on that. I’m not entirely sure that executive action is — my understanding (inaudible) executive action cannot replace the legislation on that.

QUESTION: Is he confident broadly that there’s a willingness at all to take on the more comprehensive approach to immigration in the new year?

GIBBS:  Well, look, again, as I said yesterday, we’ve — is the only way that we’re going to solve many of the vexing problems around immigration. And the only way to do that is for the federal government to — to debate and to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

It can’t be done with 50 states enacting a series of their own immigration laws, as we saw in the court’s decision around Arizona.