Perhaps the most notable absence at Tuesday’s meeting with President Obama was immigration reform champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez.
Tag: White House meeting on immigration reform
Harsh criticism of Obama for increasing enforcement and deportations. Schumer-Graham bill would include mandatory ID card.
While even such a conservative stalwart as The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page asks for comprehensive immigration reform and a stop to the Bush-era enforcement-only approach, the Obama administration’s chief of immigration enforcement has reiterated this week the government’s commitment to a hard-line approach.
At the same time, Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano will host a meeting on immigration Thursday at the White House “with advocates, religious groups, businesses and law enforcers,” The Associated Press reported.
These latest developments seem to continue the Obama administration’s pattern of talking about reform while acting on enforcement.
“We will try to apply immigration laws in a tough, smart and thoughtful manner,”* said John Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), during a visit to Los Angeles, according to a Spanish-language article in La Opinión by Feet in 2 Worlds contributor Pilar Marrero.
Morton signaled there will not be a stop to immigration raids.
By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
President Barack Obama finally sat down with legislators from both parties last week to talk about immigration reform and the news media saluted the meeting with editorials and op-ed pieces on how to proceed.
The meeting, said Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión, was “the first step toward immigration reform. In itself, the start does not guarantee that new legislation will be feasible this year despite the urgent need, but the fact that it has begun is hopeful.
“The cards are now on the table –the newspaper said–. We hope that they will be well played.”
By Suman Raghunathan, FI2W consultant
Finally, the much-expected meeting on immigration reform between President Barack Obama and lawmakers from both parties took place Thursday. Participating legislators said the president promised to put his energy into moving forward right away. The response from some reform advocates was “Game On!” But the various sides have already started drawing lines in the sand — spelling out what they will and will not accept.
Reps. Anthony Weiner (D.-N.Y.) and Joseph Crowley (D.-N.Y.) reported that President Obama began the meeting by promising to “use whatever political capital he has left” to enact comprehensive immigration reform this year.
See a White House video of the meeting:
Thursday’s meeting and the White House’s creation of a working group on immigration reform –to be headed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano– were lauded by immigrant rights groups such as America’s Voice, which called Thursday “a turning point” and declared: “Game On”.
The renewed commitment from the Oval Office might allay advocates’ fears that the current economic crisis, as well as Obama’s high-profile efforts to enact health care reform would prevent the President and Congress from dealing with immigration this year.
What: President Barack Obama will meet Congressional leaders from both parties to discuss the way forward in fixing the U.S. immigration system. The White House has insisted on tamping down expectations, saying this is just the beginning of the conversation. Pro-immigration advocates, on the contrary, are anxious for Congressional action to start. Anti-immigration activists seem to be waiting to hear what exactly the Democrats’ plan will include — but they reject any kind of legalization proposal.
When & Where: After two postponements attributed to the president’s busy schedule, the meeting will be held today at the White House.
Who: While White House officials had first said the meeting would involve not only lawmakers but also activists and others involved in the immigration debate, today’s conversation will only include members of the Senate and the House who are part of relevant committees.
No official list of attendees has been announced. But Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión, quoting unnamed sources, published this list: Democratic Sens. Robert Menéndez (N.J.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.); Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Mel Martínez (Fla.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Jeff Sessions (Ala.); Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman (all Calif.), Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.), Nydia Velázquez and Anthony Weiner (both N.Y.); Republican Reps. Lamar Smith (Texas), Adam Putnam and Lincoln Díaz-Balart (both Fla.)
One key player from the last Congressional immigratio reform debate will be absent: the ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.), who’s now focused solely on health-care reform.
As White House Immigration Reform Meeting Looms, Obama Administration Not Sharing Advocates' Urgency
By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Despite the sense of urgency among immigration advocates, the White House seems prepared for a drawn-out debate over immigration reform. The conversation should start this Thursday in a meeting with lawmakers from both parties, if President Barack Obama’s schedule finally permits it.
The administration’s deliberate approach suggests that the meeting will not lead to swift action. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said immigration reform is not likely to see much action in Congress this year, as reported by Roll Call.
“I can see the president’s desire for it to happen, but understanding that currently where we sit the math makes that real difficult,” Gibbs said.
Friday afternoons are often when bad news is made public in Washington D.C. Pro-immigration advocates were reminded of this last week when they learned that President Barack Obama for the second time postponed a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform due to “scheduling conflicts.”
But activists are keeping a sunny outlook in the face of increasing doubts about the White House’s commitment to have significant work done on the issue this year.
“We’re disappointed at the delay, but this does not diminish the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform this year,” Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D.-N.Y.), president of the Hispanic Caucus in Congress, told Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión.
The bipartisan meeting, which is expected to include members of both houses of Congress, was scheduled initially for June 8th, then rescheduled for Wed. June 17th. Now, there’s no certainty about the new date.
Univisión.com‘s Jorge Cancino quotes an unidentified White House official as saying the meeting would take place this week, although the source mentions no date or time. La Opinión reports it has been pushed to next week.