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White House Meeting Postponed But Commitment, and Stakes, are High

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ClocksYesterday the White House rescheduled the immigration meeting set for next Wednesday, June 17th to the week of June 22nd. The meeting will bring together key leadership in Congress and kickoff the Adminstration’s work on immigration reform. It was originally scheduled for June 8th, but was delayed as a result of the President’s travel schedule abroad.

Wasting no time, the political class is already pronouncing that immigration reform is “doomed” as a result of the delay. The Hill reports that the meeting is being “put off indefinitely,” despite the fact that the very same article cites an Administration official who says:

“The meeting will happen soon and a new date is being set,” the official said.

Here’s the thing. President Obama has consistently pledged to move forward on immigration reform this year, and the expectation is clear that he will do just that. The time is ripe, with an overwhelming majority of voters supporting real reform  an overwhelming majority of voters supporting real reform, a new national campaign to garner support in Congress, and both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi putting comprehensive immigration reform on the front-burner last week. 

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, put it like this today in a press statement:

While we are disappointed that the meeting has been delayed, we are confident that immigration reform will move forward this fall. The President has promised to advance the issue many times, and we believe he is a man of his word.

In fact, we believe this White House wants to enact immigration reform because they know that the American people expect Congress and the new President to move forward practical solutions to important problems like illegal immigration. Once the President kicks off the debate, all eyes will turn to Congress to see whether Congressional Democratic leaders advance the plan, and whether Congressional Republican leaders recognize that they have to get right on this issue–or continue to alienate the fastest growing group of new voters in the country and deepen their reputation as the ‘Party of No?’

The stakes are high. (But you wouldn’t know it to hear the political class chatter).