President Obama will be in El Paso, Texas, Tuesday to demand comprehensive immigration reform, arguing that it will save the rest of us money. Immigrants start businesses and invent things, Obama will contend, and that creates more jobs, the Associated Press reports. In a statement issued to reporters, the White House said Obama has met with "leaders and stakeholders" about why fixing the immigration system "matters to the American economy," Politico says: The U.S. "has been enriched by a steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have helped make America an engine of the global economy..." the statement continued, El Paso's ABC 7 reports. "As we work to rebuild the economy, our ability to thrive depends, in part, on restoring responsibility and accountability to the immigration system."
But when Democrats controlled the House and had a bigger majority in the Senate, Obama still couldn't get the DREAM Act, which would have offered a path to citizenship for college students and military members. So what's this visit about?
The main thing Obama will gain from the Texas visit--in addition to stopping by a couple fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee in Austin--will be solidifying his support among Latinos, the Associated Press reports. Latinos made up seven percent of the vote in the midterm elections, even though their turnout is lower compared to other groups. Obama hopes to motivate them, and his opponents see that too, with Texas Representative Lamar Smith scoffing that "Obama has once again put on his campaigner-in-chief hat." House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman said he had no plans to take up an immigration bill--and that the president hadn't even bothered to reach out to the speaker about it. The White House denies this is just political posturing, The Hill's Jordy Yager and Sam Youngman report, and insists an immigration bill could be passed. Spokesman Jay Carney said the Obama team "are congenital optimists here." Optimistic about national demographic trends, maybe: Mike Allen reiterates in Playbook this morning that "a big immigration bill has zero chance of passing this year," while "Hispanic voters are a big component of Obama 2012's plan to expand the map into Georgia and Texas."