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White House Says Immigration Reform Unlikely in ’09

The White House on Monday acknowledged that immigration reform is unlikely to move in Congress this year.

“I can see the president’s desire for it to happen but understanding that currently where we sit the math makes that real difficult,— said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Obama will meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers Thursday to discuss the issue at the White House.

Gibbs added that Obama hopes that “later this year that we can have the beginning of formal debate on that.—

Obama has consistently put other priorities — including energy and health care reform — ahead of an immigration bill, hoping to have both approved in 2009.

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