While urging House Republicans to back new immigration legislation, President Obama said Monday he is willing to split a bill into pieces if that will get it passed.
“That’s okay,” Obama said during a speech in San Francisco. “It’s Thanksgiving. We can carve that bird into multiple pieces — a drumstick here, breast meat there.”
But Obama also said a final package must include certain elements, including a proposed pathway to citizenship that has drawn opposition from Republicans.
Said Obama: “As long as all the pieces get done, soon, and we actually deliver on the core values we have been talking about for so long, I think everybody is fine with it.”
Obama caught flak during his speech as protesters yelled at him over the number of deportations during his time in office.
“Stop deportations! Stop deportations!” protesters chanted.
The president said he is bound by the law. When someone yelled he had the “power” to stop deportations, Obama replied, “Actually, I don’t. And that’s why we’re here.”
Obama told the protesters that it’s “easy” to shout about problems, but he is seeking a harder path designed “to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won’t be as easy as just shouting.”
The Democratic-led Senate passed an immigration bill earlier this year; the Republican-run House has not taken action on the issue.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said Republicans want to take a “step-by-step” approach to immigration challenges.
“The American people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills, and frankly, they should be,” Boehner said last week. “The only way to make sure immigration reform works this time is to address these complicated issues one step at a time.”