The White House is trying to dial down the partisan rhetoric on immigration — and it’s asking its allies to do the same.
In meetings with immigration reform advocates, White House officials have said President Barack Obama won’t threaten to take unilateral executive action — at least not yet — and that he wants to give House Republicans some breathing room to try to pass legislation this year, said immigration advocates who have participated in the sessions...
“You’re not going to see the president talking critically or negatively about Republicans on an issue like this when he wants to see this happen,” said Jim Wallis, president of the Christian social-justice organization Sojourners. “They’re not looking for conflict here, they are looking for cooperation and collaboration.”
The president has softened his language of late. He went from demanding the House pass the Senate’s comprehensive bill to saying at a pre-Christmas news conference that it was “a concept that has bipartisan support. Let’s see if we can break through the politics on this.” Before a Cabinet meeting last week, Obama issued a vanilla reminder that “we know that we need to get immigration reform done — a major piece of unfinished business from last year.” Obama also discussed immigration reform during his Wednesday night session with Senate Democrats, according to the White House.