President Obama expressed confidence Wednesday that lawmakers will strike a bipartisan immigration deal by the end of the summer.
“If we have a bill introduced at the beginning of next month as these senators indicate it will be, then I'm confident that we can get it done certainly before the end of the summer,” the president told Telemundo.
Obama taped interviews with both Telemundo and Univision on Wednesday afternoon in an effort to build momentum for an immigration deal, an achievement that seems within his grasp.
Obama also downplayed a public clash between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. While the business and labor groups had agreed in principle on a temporary visa program, a split over worker wages has threatened to derail the process.
On Wednesday, Obama said that he did not agree that the split was “threatening to doom the legislation.”
“This is a resolvable issue,” Obama continued. “The most important thing is that we're seeing a strong commitment to finally solve this problem in a way that strengthens our border security, makes sure that there's a pathway to citizenship — an earned one, a tough one, but a pathway — so that people can live out their dreams and make sure that they have a better life for themselves and their kids.”
Obama is under pressure from Republicans to agree to a quantifiable set of border security standards before the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants are given any form of citizenship.
He told Telemundo it was important to provide clarity for illegal immigrants.
“Regardless of how much additional effort we put in on the borders, we don't want to make this earned pathway to citizenship a situation in which it's put off further and further into the future,” Obama said. “There needs to be a certain path for how people can get legal in this country, even as we also work on these strong border security issues.”
But in his remarks to Univision, Obama also stressed the need for a realistic evaluation of security procedures on the Southern border.
"Given the size of the border, it's never going to be 110 percent perfect," Obama said. "What we can do is to continue to improve it."
Obama said he remained optimistic that lawmakers would strike a deal.
“I'm not gonna presuppose failure,” Obama said. “I don't know why you keep on asking about failure, ‘cause I think this is gonna succeed.”
Obama repeated his threat that if the Senate fails to act on a deal to overhaul the nation's immigration action, he would push forward with his own legislation.
He said if that he has his own legislation if he sees “a breakdown."
“I'm prepared to step in. But I don't think that's going to be necessary,” Obama said.