White House Briefing: DOMA, Immigration and Obama

Posted by Chris Geidner
May 11, 2011 8:38 PM |

From today's White House press briefing:

    Q    Jay, I've got some questions for you, a series of questions where DOMA and immigration intersect.  Under DOMA, U.S. citizens in legally recognized same-sex marriages cannot sponsor their spouses for residency in the United States.  And -- nationals could be subject to deportation and separation from their spouses upon expiration of temporary visas. Members of Congress have been calling on President Obama to issue a temporary moratorium on these deportations.  Is there any consideration in the administration to issuing such an order?  

     MR. CARNEY:  The President I think made the point in his speech yesterday that he believes we have to take comprehensive action on immigration reform and that he can't just wave a wand and change the law.  So I’ll leave it at that, in terms of his views.

     Q    But do you believe that issuing such an order is within the President's authority?

     MR. CARNEY:  It's not for me to decide.  I'm not a lawyer. 

     Q    On the legislative side -- on the legislative side, does the President want to see a fix to this problem, whether these nationals are married to their same-sex partners or otherwise, as part of comprehensive immigration reform.  There’s legislation that would accomplish this end known as the Uniting American Families Act.

    MR. CARNEY:  It's a level of specificity I don’t have.  But the President is committed to comprehensive immigration reform.  He thinks that it’s got to contain the elements of the continued focus on law enforcement and border control.  And it has to deal with changes to legal immigration and a way to deal with the 11 million illegal immigrants here that’s fair to both them and to businesses and to those who are here legally and approaching this in a legal manner.

     Q    But why didn't the President address this specific address during his immigration speech yesterday?

     MR. CARNEY:  He gave a pretty long, comprehensive speech ....

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