Weekly feature by Nezua, TMC MediaWire Blogger: “President Obama has often stated that immigration reform cannot be approached in a piecemeal fashion, and that his administration would tackle the issue in 2009. This week, Obama will be meeting with members of Congress to kick off a bi-partisan approach to reform. These meetings don’t guarantee any legislative action will take place this year, but are at least an encouraging sign.”
THE PRESIDENT: “Hello, everybody. We have just finished what I consider to be a very productive meeting on one of the most critical issues that I think this nation faces, and that is an immigration system that is broken and needs fixing. We have members of Congress from both chambers, from parties, who have participated in the meeting and shared a range of ideas. I think the consensus is that despite our inability to get this passed over the last several years, the American people still want to see a solution in which we are tightening up our borders, or cracking down on employers who are using illegal workers in order to drive down wages — and oftentimes mistreat those workers. And we need a effective way to recognize and legalize the status of undocumented workers who are here.”
This afternoon, a select, bipartisan group of Members of Congress met with President Obama at the White House to talk immigration solutions. The President summed things up this way, according to a release from the White House: “After all the demagoguery, we’ve got a responsible set of leaders who want to get things done.”
More disturbing profiles in extremism this week. After a mother of six died in Monday’s tragic Metro crash, a group of what appear to be anti-immigrant activists are calling up Ana Fernandez’ family and asking for the family’s papers. Their justification? Apparently “Fernandez” sounds “illegal.” This kind of extremism, as NBC Washington points out, does nothing to advance the immigration debate.
Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reiterated that he’s got the votes to move immigration reform forward, and soon. Today MSNBC’s Mark Murray reports: Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, said it was smart policy and smart politics to take up immigration reform. He noted that Obama was elected in no small part because independent voters thought he and the Democrats were best able to find solutions to challenging problems like immigration. Roll Call’s Jessica Brady reports in “Schumer Says Immigration Reform Will Happen:”Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) maintained Wednesday that Congress will tackle comprehensive immigration reform this Congress, and perhaps even this year.
On June 25th, President Obama is convening a bi-partisan meeting to discuss the prospects for moving on comprehensive immigration reform later this year. If he asked me about the politics of immigration reform in this economic climate, this is the memo I would send to him: “Reform advocates point to the pledge you made on the campaign trail, to make immigration reform a “top priority in my first year.” Yet skeptics argue that the economic crisis makes your campaign promise moot.”
Just in case there was any doubt the first time around… In “Reid claims he has votes for reform,” Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said once again Tuesday that he has the votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform.” As Thursday’s White House meeting on immigration approaches, reform advocates will be looking to the President and Congress to provide a road map for getting it done.
I just came back from attending a graduation ceremony organized by United We Dream, a coalition of student advocacy groups from all over the U.S advocating for the DREAM Act. What’s the DREAM Act you say? Each year about 65,000 U.S.-raised students, who would qualify for a status-adjustment under the DREAM Act, graduate from high school with few real prospects for the future. These include honor roll students, star athletes, talented artists, homecoming queens, and aspiring teachers, doctors, and U.S. soldiers.
While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has come out swinging in support of moving comprehensive immigration reform this year, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs seems equally determined to lower advocates’ expectations in advance of this Thursday’s big White House immigration meeting.
Irony of ironies- it turns out, according to Think Progress’ Lee Fang in “Under Misspelled Banner, Buchanan And White Nationalist Brimelow Argue For English-Only Initiatives,” that American Cause luminaries actually convened under a misspelled banner to promote their hardline, English-only agenda. For more, check out our background briefing on the American Cause National Conference, nicknamed, “The cauldron where extremists, right-wing media and conservative politicians cook up racist rhetoric.”