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Transcript of Rahm Emanuel Monitor Breakfast

(Page 9 of 12)

B. I think the president you will see outline today a number of things that we’ve taken administratively. One of the things he said today - I think he’ll outline today and one of the things I’ve been focused on, having a district that was – Lynn knows this from my own district – but uh, I mean, my district was heavily Polish and Mexican-American and Eastern European and Serb-Croatian – is, through our technology office, the CPO, CIO, and CPO, we’ve gone in and worked with INS, we will announce the modernization of the records there, so you can go online and see where you are in the system as it relates to legalization. We’ve done in 90 days worth about 20 years’ worth of work in modernizing the immigration service from a legal standpoint and other steps we have taken.

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But today’s focus will be in addition to what we have done administratively that we can do. Some of that, and mainly on the kind of legalization process that has been unbelievably cumbersome and unnecessarily so, both from the lack of investment and the lack of attention. Then what else we have to do to pass some legislation. I talked to Senator Schumer just the other day. He has views of what he thinks he can do to get it done and what kind of some of the tradeoffs are. That’s what the meeting’s about.

This is all just a judgment call. If it doesn’t happen in the next 2 months, I don’t think that that means it doesn’t happen within this – between now and then, between now and 2010. That’s just my view, I don’t buy that necessarily.

Q: Implications for Democratic Party if it doesn’t happen at all between now and the 2010 elections?

RE: It’s better that it happen from a policy standpoint. It’s obviously self-evident that it would be better if it happened from a political standpoint. But it’s also better that we continue to focus on moving the economy – getting the economy moving.

That also – it’s not like. Walter, what I would say is, look, there’s no doubt it would be better. But if we did it but we’re making progress on the economy I don’t think that from a political standpoint – that is not the only issue related – in a way, the president’s communique with the Hispanic community, and I’ve seen enough data to say that he’s doing as strong today as he was on election day – as are the Democrats.

Q: Russia – what is the president hoping to accomplish in a couple of weeks in Moscow? Also, is he really going to be able to reset the relationship given Russia’s changes of mind on the WTO? Are they ready to play ball?

RE: As you know, you don’t just kinda show up and decide to work everything out. OK? Let me just say, I think we’re making a lot of progress on some of the key issues as it relates to arms control. Given that we’re – we’re two weeks away from the trip. I don’t wanna preempt that trip in the wrong way. There is very sensitive discussions, literally day by day, hour by hour. And I don’t want anybody to say that I said something out of here that in any way could be misinterpreted as the parties are sitting down working through what we’re trying to accomplish. It’s a good trip, we’ve set our goals on what our objectives are, and we’re working through them right now.

Q: What are the objectives beyond arms control?

RE: There will be some economic stuff, some cultural stuff, but arms control is a significant piece of it.