President Obama told supporters Friday that he doesn’t care if some Republican lawmakers vote for immigration reform only to pander to Hispanic voters.
“If I’ve got a bunch of Republicans who just for purely political reasons decide we’ve got to get right with immigration communities and so we’re going to pass immigration reform, I’m not concerned about their motives,” Mr. Obama said at a Democratic fundraiser in Los Angeles. “I think the folks who so far have stood up are deeply sincere about what needs to be done — but even if it’s political calculation, I’m game.”
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Mr. Obama won about 70 percent of the Hispanic vote last year, and their growing clout at the polls has many Republicans eager to find ways to reach out to them.
The Senate opened debate on an immigration reform bill Friday, with the first votes set for Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said he hopes to finish the legislation by July 4.
Mr. Reid said the bill will “make our country safer and help undocumented immigrants get right with the law.”
But a leading opponent, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, said the bill “will definitely give amnesty today” and argued the border-enforcement provisions are not fulfilled.
Mr. Obama said he intends to fix the immigration system “before the end of the summer.”
“And for us to be able to accomplish that, we’ve got to have Republicans who are willing to take what, for them, are some difficult votes and some tough stands,” he said, praising GOP Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida.