By Mick Krever, CNN
Immigration reform in the United States, long forestalled, is a matter of practicality, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
“This isn't about favors for anybody; this isn't about where the rules were broken or not,” he said. “This is about being practical, pragmatic and making sure that we have that workforce for tomorrow.”
Garcetti himself is the product of America’s melting pot; he is Los Angeles’ first Jewish mayor, is part-Mexican, and bilingual. At 43, Garcetti is the city’s youngest mayor in a century.
“All Americans, whether you're Latino or not Latino, have a stake in making sure the immigrants – who, again, don't just come from Latin America, but come from Asia and Europe and Canada – that they're fully integrated into our country.”
“It's been the strength of our country. It'll be the demographic growth of our country, and the economic driver of this country.”
U.S. President Barack Obama has long wanted to pass reforms to fix immigration rules that are widely considered by both parties to be broken.
The effort appeared to have broken down several months ago, but there are new signs that the House of Representatives’ Republican leader, John Boehner, will try to get a bill passed this year.
“I'm always an optimist,” Mayor Garcetti said. “I'm the kind of baseball fan, who when we’re down 11-2 in the 9th [inning] still thinks we can win the game. And I do hope that Speaker Boehner will.”
Reform, he said, is a matter of necessity – not choice.
“As a mayor of Los Angeles, I can't afford to look at a pothole and decide whether it's a Left or a Right issue. It has to be paved. In the same way, we're looking for Congress to have America first in its mind.”
“I wouldn't be here today as the forty-second mayor of the City of Los Angeles – the second biggest city in America and one of the world's great cities – were it not for my own family story.
Some of his Jewish and Mexican ancestors “came here probably without any papers,” he said.
“But they believed in this country. They invested in their well-being and in their family, they worked hard, and today I'm able to lead this city because of that.”
“That is the American story. We need to create more of those instead of shutting them away into the shadows where we all lose.”
Click below to watch Amanpour’s full conversation with Mayor Garcetti, and find out how he’s making sure America’s movie industry stays in Hollywood, what he learned visiting eighty countries around the world, and how he is preparing LA for its first major earthquake of the 21st century.