Axelrod says Congress should set immigration reform in motion this year

Immigration reform legislation should at least be set in motion this
year, White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Friday.

Axelrod said that the administration views bipartisanship as essential to forging immigration legislation, and that the White House would welcome a bill this year if Congress can manage it.

{mosads}”I think that that’s a function of whether that coalition comes together,” Axelrod said of the prospects for reform this year during an appearance on ABC. “Certainly that process should be in motion this year, and if we can get it done this year, we should get it done this year.”

A group of Democratic senators unveiled their outline for immigration reform on Thursday at the Capitol, a plan that would emphasize securing the borders, and then providing illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

House leaders have said any bill must start in the Senate, and Democratic leaders said Thursday that they were optimistic about their legislation’s chances this year, even though House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) warned there was “not a chance” Congress would pass immigration reform in 2010.

The president himself on Wednesday evening questioned whether lawmakers had the appetite to move ahead on immigration reform.

“Obviously this will require bipartisan support,” Axelrod said on “Good Morning America” Friday. “This is not something you can move on a partisan basis through Congress.”

Axelrod acknowledged, though, that the fervor for reform had grown in part out of the tough new immigration law in Arizona, which cracks down on illegal immigrants.

The senior adviser acknowledged that the Department of Justice is looking at potential federal responses to that state law, though Axelrod did not elaborate.

“The Department of Justice is reviewing this matter now and we’ll see what they conclude,” he said.

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