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Obama: Voters must pursuade Congress to improve immigration

May 11, 2011 8:38:00 AM - thestate.com
Read the president's full remarks at the end of this story.

In search of Hispanic votes and a long-shot immigration overhaul, President Barack Obama on Tuesday stood at the U.S.-Mexico border for the first time since winning the White House and declared it more secure than ever. He mocked Republican lawmakers for blocking immigration over border security alone, saying they won't be happy until they get a moat with alligators along the border.

"They'll never be satisfied," he said.

Stymied by both chambers of Congress, the president ditched lawmakers in favor of voters who might pressure them, making an appeal to the public on a hot and dusty day far outside Washington. He told a friendly El Paso crowd that it's up to them to tell Congress to pass legislation providing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.

The approach also allowed the president to make clear that it's Republicans - not him - standing in the way of immigration legislation. As his re-election campaign approaches it's a message he wants broadcast loud and clear to Latino voters who don't like his administration's heavy deportations and feel he never made good on his promise to prioritize immigration legislation during his first year in office.

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