LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged Congress and President Obama to move now on comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to full citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
"The time is now. We can't wait another political season to pass comprehensive immigration reform," he said on CBS' "Face The Nation" Sunday. "We can't do this piecemeal, and we can't have a second-class citizenship. This has to be a full pathway to citizenship."
The mayor went on to call immigration reform a moral and economic imperative. "If we bring these people -- 11 million people -- out of the dark and into the light, it's about a $1.5 trillion impact to the U.S. economy," he said. "The DREAMers alone -- a $329 million impact."
Villaraigosa will deliver this message to Washington Monday with a speech at the National Press Club luncheon on immigration reform.
He added that full citizenship should be granted to those who have been waiting in line, paying their taxes and have a clean background check.
The mayor also said that the only way to accomplish reform is with bipartisan cooperation. "I'm heartened by Senator McCain and others -- I think there are about eight in the Senate -- that have been talking about comprehensive immigration reform, not just piecemeal," Villaraigosa said.
The mayor also urged Congress to pass an assault weapons ban, to require universal background checks for all firearms sales, and to improve mental health registries and services.
He said he does not agree with the NRA's call for arming teachers, but that our "culture of violence" needs to be addressed with parents and teachers talking to kids. In Los Angeles, the police have been patrolling schools periodically throughout the day since the Newtown massacre, the mayor pointed out.
Regarding President Obama's recent fourth consecutive nomination of a white male to his cabinet, Villaraigosa defended the President.
"I think when it's all said and done you're going to see that this President is committed to diversity, including women and people of color," the Mayor said.