Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, DC. He said he took offense at suggestions that immigration might have to take a backseat to debates over gun control and the debt ceiling, arguing that there was time to adress all these issues.
"Washington should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time," he said. "Congress is perfectly capable of enacting repsonsible gun legislation and comprehensive immigration reform."
According to Villaraigosa, reform needed to include a clear path to citizenship for America's 11 million undocumented immigrants and could not be achieved through piecemeal legislation, as some Republican lawmakers have suggested.
"The time for half measures and one sided approaches is over," he said. "The botom line in this debate is full citizenship. There can be no second class citizens in the United States of America"