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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday conceded that an immigration overhaul cannot be achieved by his August deadline. With House Republicans searching for a way forward on the issue, the president said he was hopeful a bill could be finalized this fall — though even that goal may be overly optimistic.

The president, in a series of interviews with Spanish language television stations, also reiterated his insistence that any legislation include a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. Many House GOP lawmakers oppose the citizenship proposal, hardening the differences between the parties on the president's top second-term legislative priority.

"It does not make sense to me, if we're going to make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix this system, to leave the status of 11 million people or so unresolved," he said during an interview with Telemundo's Denver affiliate.

The White House sees the president's outreach to Hispanics as a way to keep up enthusiasm for the overhaul among core supporters even as the legislative prospects in Washington grow increasingly uncertain.

Some Republicans view support for immigration reform as central to the party's national viability given the growing political power of Hispanics. But many House GOP lawmakers representing conservative — and largely white — districts see little incentive to back legislation.

The president said the lack of consensus among House Republicans will stretch the immigration debate past August, his original deadline for a long-elusive overhaul of the nation's fractured laws.

"That was originally my hope and my goal," Obama said. "But the House Republicans I think still have to process this issue and discuss it further, and hopefully, I think, still hear from constituents, from businesses to labor, to evangelical Christians who all are supporting immigration reform."

Supporters are working on strategy to get the House to sign off on an overhaul. On Tuesday, most members of the so-called Gang of Eight — the bipartisan group of senators that authored the Senate immigration bill — met in the Capitol with a large group of advocates from business, religious, agriculture and other organizations to urge everyone to work together to move the issue through the House.

The senators distributed a list of 121 House Republicans seen as persuadable in favor of the bill and discussed honing a message for Congress' monthlong August recess, when House members will meet with constituents and potentially encounter opposition to immigration legislation.

"When we go into the August break we want to be sure everybody's working hard and trying to make our case," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., after the meeting.

The landmark bill passed by the Senate last month would tighten border security, expand the highly skilled worker program and set up new guest worker arrangements for lower-skilled workers and farm laborers. It would also provide a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million immigrations illegally in the U.S., one that includes paying fees, learning English and taking other steps.

During his interview with Univision's Los Angeles affiliate, Obama said the citizenship pathway "needs to be part of the bill."

House Republicans have balked at the Senate proposal, with GOP leaders saying they prefer instead to tackle the issue in smaller increments. Many GOP representatives also oppose the prospect of allowing people who came to the U.S. illegally to become citizens.

House Republicans are considering other options, including proposals to give priority for legalization to the so-called Dreamers — those who were brought the U.S. illegally as children. Allowing only those individuals to obtain citizenship could shield Republicans from attacks by conservatives that they're giving a free pass to those who voluntarily broke the law.

"I think that group of people — some call Dreamers — is a group that deserves perhaps the highest priority attention," Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said at an immigration-related conference in California Monday. "They know no other country."

Goodlatte and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, both Virginia Republicans, are working on a bill to address the status of those immigrants, although the timing is uncertain. And Goodlatte cautioned that any such measure should hinge on completion of enforcement measures to prevent parents from smuggling their children into the U.S. in the future.

The House is not expected to act on any legislation before the August recess, though the House Judiciary Committee could hold a hearing on the bill dealing with people brought to the U.S. when they were young.

Obama also spoke with the Telemundo station in Dallas and the Univision station in the New York/New Jersey area.

_ Associated Press writer Erica Werner contributed to this report.

_ Follow Julie Pace at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC
Read more...

By Anthony Castellano

Jul 17, 2013 7:32am

Rolling Stone magazine put Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaevon the cover of its August issue, drawing harsh criticism from the online world that it glorifies the alleged bomber.

The cover, often reserved for rock stars and top celebrities, features the 19-year-old teen suspect in a photo taken from one of Tsarnaev’s social media accounts. In the photo, Tsarnaev is sporting shaggy hair and staring intently into the camera.

The headline on the cover reads, “The Bomber. How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.”

More than 5,000 people have left comments on the legendary magazine’s Facebook page, most denouncing Rolling Stone’s decision to feature Tsarnaev.

“I think it’s wrong to make celebrities out of these people,” one person wrote on the magazine’s Facebook page. “Why give the guy the cover of Rolling Stone? TIME gave Charles Manson the cover and all the magazines carried pictures of the Columbine shooters on the covers, too. Don’t make martyrs out of these people.”

Another person wrote, “Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs, should be on cover.”

Rolling Stone published a preview of Janet Reitman’s story online Tuesday, including “five revelations” uncovered in the article. One of the revelations sheds light on Tsarnaev’s feelings about the 9/11 terrorist attacks:

“Jahar never spoke about 9/11. Once, though, he let slip to a high school friend that he thought the terrorist attacks could be justified, and pointed to US policies towards Muslim countries and US drone strikes and other attacks as his rationale.”

The magazine says Reitman spent two months talking to “childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents” about Tsarnaev and the investigation into the bombing.

Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty last week to 30 counts associated with the bombing. Tsarnaev is accused of working with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, to set off a pair of bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 15, killing three and injuring more than 260 others.

Read more...

The captain of the cruise ship that capsized off the coast of Italy is trying to work out a plea deal as testimony is about to begin in his trial in Grosseto, Italy.

But Francesco Schettino's  ttorney says he holds out little hope that the trial judge will allow a deal for Schettino to plead guilty in exchange for a three-year-five-month sentence. 

Schettino risks up to 20 years if found guilty of manslaughter, abandoning ship and causing the shipwreck that claimed 32 lives.

 

Read more...

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