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Ill. Democrat urges Obama on immigration

Dec. 8, 2012 at 2:00 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A Democratic member of Congress from Illinois said President Barack Obama needs to play a more prominent role in talks on immigration reform.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said he was dismayed at Obama's seemingly low profile on the issue, after Latino voters helped the president win re-election last month, The Hill reported Saturday.

"When senators from both parties and members of the House are talking, when you have the Senate majority leader and Speaker (John) Boehner both saying that this is an important priority, who's the one missing? The president," Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez campaigned for Obama in swing states with large Latino populations.

He said Obama risks seeing the immigration issues kicked down the road unless he helped maintain a sense of urgency.

Obama has said he expected an immigration reform bill to be introduced and in play in Congress shortly after the January inauguration, although pressing economic issues will also be on the agenda.

Gutierrez recommended the president at least call a summit of congressional leaders or take other steps to keep immigration in the spotlight.

"Let's not miss the opportunity," he said.

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