CNN's Soledad O'Brien dismissed GOP obstructionism on immigration reform, downplaying the filibuster of the DREAM Act by Senate Republicans and suggesting the Obama administration didn't do enough on immigration issues.
In an interview today with Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), O'Brien said:
O'BRIEN: When I was talking to [Romney adviser] Carlos Gutierrez -- who was representing the Obama campaign [sic] -- yesterday, his consistent message to me was, Forget about Mitt Romney. Let's talk about what Obama has done. Or hasn't done maybe is a better way of putting it. Doesn't he have a point? You look at immigration reform. There was an opportunity; it was not done. When you look at the record number of people who are being deported, that's something the president has done. Isn't this on immigration kind of a mixed bag for the president.
After Van Hollen pointed out that Democrats tried to pass the DREAM Act but were blocked by Senate Republicans, O'Brien played a clip of Carlos Gutierrez, an honorary co-chair of Mitt Romney's Hispanic Steering Committee, accusing Obama of "fail[ing] to provide leadership" on immigration issues and said:
O'BRIEN: You're specifically talking about the DREAM Act, but what [Gutierrez is] talking about is there was an opportunity early on and it was not done. Could have been done and was not done.
Van Hollen responded by again pointing out that Republicans blocked the DREAM Act and saying that "if you can't even pass" the DREAM Act, "how can you talk about doing comprehensive immigration reform?"
In 2010, despite nearly unanimous opposition from Republicans, the DREAM Act passed the House. It died in the Senate, however, even though three years earlier, a dozen Republican senators had supported the bill. ABC News wrote at the time: "By a vote of 55 to 41, the bill -- the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM Act -- failed to win the 60 votes needed to break a GOP filibuster, even though the measure passed the House last week."
O'Brien eventually told Van Hollen that he was "absolutely right" in his comments about the DREAM Act, but instead of discussing the Republicans' obstruction tactics continued to ask why the Obama administration didn't do more on immigration reform. "There was a point when the Democrats controlled both houses, right?," she said, adding: "So, I mean, I think that was a missed opportunity." She continued:
O'BRIEN: If you go back the first year, and the window in which there was an opportunity and the president decided instead to focus on something else.
O'Brien created the impression that the Obama administration and Democrats gave up on immigration reform when in fact their efforts had been blocked by Republicans.