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Nation Digest: Obama and Lawmakers Discuss Immigration Reform

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Friday, June 26, 2009

WHITE HOUSE

Obama, Lawmakers Discuss Immigration

A bipartisan group of lawmakers emerged from a White House meeting with President Obama on Thursday confident that the president is ready to put his political weight behind an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.

"I don't think he could have be clearer today or more committed today that he wanted to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality," said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who had previously expressed disappointment with Obama's commitment to the issue. "He led today."

Obama and members of his administration met with the lawmakers to begin mapping a plan to build support for an immigration measure that the president has said he would like to pass later this year or early next year, according to a senior White House official.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Obama said he is committed to pushing reform, even though similar efforts failed during the presidency of George W. Bush and sharp differences on immigration separate members of Congress, particularly as the economy continues to struggle.

"It's going to require some heavy lifting," Obama said. "It's going to require a victory of practicality and common sense and good policymaking over short-term politics. That's what I'm committed to doing as president."

-- Michael A. Fletcher

Impeached Federal Judge Resigns: A federal judge from Texas who was impeached by the House has resigned ahead of his Senate trial. U.S. District Judge Sam Kent turned over a letter of his resignation to a Senate official who was serving a subpoena on the judge at the Massachusetts prison where he is serving a 33-month prison sentence. Kent has pleaded guilty to lying to federal judicial investigators about sexually assaulting two women who worked for him.

U.S. Seizes Generics: Authorities seized generic medications made by Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories at plants in Michigan after repeated violations of manufacturing standards, regulators said. The seized drugs included generic versions of heart, pain and psychiatric medications, Food and Drug Administration officials said. A Caraco spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

N.J. Candidate Testifies at Hearing: Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney and New Jersey's Republican gubernatorial candidate, defended an arrangement in which former attorney general John D. Ashcroft's consulting firm made millions of dollars monitoring a controversial deferred prosecution agreement. In a sometimes-tense exchange with congressional Democrats, Christie told the House Judiciary Committee that the choice of Ashcroft was acceptable to the company, Zimmer Holdings. But the testimony from Christie, who once worked for Ashcroft, was at odds with e-mails that surfaced before the hearing showing the company was unhappy with the fees it had to pay Ashcroft's firms.

Woman Allegedly Changed Daughter's Grades: Pennsylvania prosecutors say a high school secretary illegally changed grades in a school computer system to improve her daughter's class standing. Attorney General Tom Corbett said Thursday that Caroline Maria McNeal used co-workers' passwords without their knowledge to access the system at Huntingdon Area High School in Pennsylvania.

Bail Is Denied for N.J. Blogger: A judge denied bail to New Jersey blogger Harold "Hal" Turner, who was charged with threatening to assault or kill three Chicago-based federal judges who refused to overturn handgun bans.

-- From News Services


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