NOGALES, Ariz. —
The push for immigration reform in Congress has been stalled for months, with Democrats and Republicans unable to reach an agreement over the divisive issue.
House Democrats last week tried to force a vote on a comprehensive immigration bill, an effort that is likely to fail given Republican reluctance to address the topic in an election year while all signs point to major gains for the GOP in the November midterms.
The Senate passed a comprehensive bill last June, but the measure stalled in the GOP-controlled House, where Republicans have argued for a piecemeal approach to reforming the system.
Arizona state Sen. Al Melvin, a Republican running for governor, said the clergy visit will do little to solve problems on the border. He said developing private-sector jobs in northern Mexico and securing the border to prevent drug and human trafficking are needed to bring stability to both sides of the international boundary.
“Frankly, and I am a Catholic, I think this is irresponsible of these bishops to be down there,” Melvin said. “They are not bringing stability to the border. They are adding to the chaos of the border. And it's not helping to save lives. If anything, I believe it will contribute to more lives being lost. We need to secure the border to protect lives.”
During his first meeting with Pope Francis last week at the Vatican, Obama expressed his interest in getting immigration reform through Congress, explaining during a news conference that “there was still an opportunity for us to make this right and get a law passed.”
“And as someone who came from Latin America, I think he (Pope Francis) is very mindful of the plight of so many immigrants who are wonderful people, working hard, making contributions, many of their children are U.S. citizens, and yet they still live in the shadows, in many cases have been deported and are separated from families,” Obama said.
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