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Is President Obama Serious on Immigration Reform?

by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 03/11/2010 at 9:40pm

That’s the question many grassroots immigration reform advocates were asking, heading into today’s meeting at the White House. It’s the question the tens of thousands of advocates coming to Washington on March 21st to push for real reform are looking to answer. It’s a question that the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights‘ Joshua Hoyt posed in an Op-ed for the Washington Post last week. He talked specifically about the danger of alienating Latino voters in 2010, who helped flip four states for Obama in 2008.

We caught up with Hoyt after his meeting with President Obama, high level White House officials, and about a dozen reform advocates from across the country– watch the interview:

It’s a little hard to hear, but he begins:

I spent an hour and a quarter in the Roosevelt Room with President Obama, and he promised that he’s still committed to comprehensive immigration reform. He said we gotta get more Republicans active– but the Democrats are there, in the majority, and the Republicans aren’t. We asked him to prove that was true by getting a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate. He said he would do that… We’ll see what happens.”

Prominent progressive blogger John Aravosis described the ratcheting-up of pressure leading up to the meeting as a bold move by reform advocates, at a time when many progressive issues have fallen off the President’s radar (and the Senate’s calendar). Indeed, the President’s schedule was filled with three meetings on immigration today, the second of which involved Senators Schumer (D-NY) and Graham (R-SC), who are leading the charge to move a bipartisan bill forward.

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