Last night, President Obama hosted a private meeting at the White House to discuss eventual immigration reform and the strategy needed to get there. Among the attendees were former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and AV’s own Executive Director Frank Sharry. Here’s a roundup of the news pieces and statements discussing the meeting:
The president began by saying that although he was disappointment that the DREAM Act did not pass through the Senate last December, that failure would not be the final word with either the DREAM Act or more comprehensive immigration reform. But, he emphasized, any potential solution would have to come from Congress. From the White House:
The President made it clear that while his Administration continues to improve our legal immigration system, secure our borders, and enhance our immigration enforcement so that it is more effectively and sensibly focusing on criminals, the only way to fix what’s broken about our immigration system is through legislative action in Congress. The President noted that he will continue to work to forge bipartisan consensus and will intensify efforts to lead a civil debate on this issue in the coming weeks and months, but also noted that he cannot be successful if he is leading the debate alone.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, disagreed, saying that Congress is only one branch of the federal government—there are two others which have the power to implement and interpret the law:
A number of the participants made it clear that while legislative action is the ultimate solution, there is a need for immediate administrative actions to reduce the suffering in immigrant communities. Among these were calls to end the deportation for DREAMers; reform programs such as 287g and Secure Communities, which, as law enforcement leaders said, are driving a wedge between immigrants and local police and undermining the trust critical to effective community policing; prioritize deportations of serious criminals over hard working families; crack down on bad actor employers, not vulnerable workers; and stop misguided state immigration laws like Arizona’s S.B. 1070 – in the courts, if necessary.