March 28 - In an interview with a Spanish-language news station, U.S. President Barack Obama says he expects to have an immigration reform bill before the end of the summer, and speaks about the federal rights of same-sex marriage couples. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) As the White House pressures Congress to strike an immigration deal, U.S. President Barack Obama tells Spanish-language news station Telemundo he is confident he'll have an immigration bill before the end of the summer. "I am not going to give a specific date but so far at least we've seen steady progress. Once you have a bill that is ready and being debated in the senate then typically that's going to take a few weeks to work its way through and to negotiate but I am confident in fact that we can get it done" Obama said during a White House interview. "If we have a bill that's introduced at the beginning of next month, as these senators indicate will be, then I am confident that we can get it done, certainly before the end of the summer." Obama's comments came as a bipartisan group of eight Senators took their quest for a deal on immigration reform to the Arizona-Mexico border where they said they were on track to deliver a bill when Congress resumes next month. Speaking about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that was debated in the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday (March 27), Obama said he hoped the high court would uphold the decision of the states that recognized same-sex marriage and allow legally married same-sex couples the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples. "I certainly believe that those states that have made a decision to recognize these couples as being married, the federal government has to respect that decision by the states. That's traditionally been how it works. States have defined marriage and the federal government has followed the lead of the states and so my hope is that the court reaches these issues and that we end up living in a country where everybody is treated fairly. That's what I think is the most important thing in America," Obama said. Under DOMA, a federal law that limits the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, legally married same-sex couples are denied benefits such as Social Security survivor payments and federal tax deductions that are available to heterosexual married couples Gay rights advocates say the federal government has no role in defining marriage, which is traditionally left to states.