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Advocates Turn Up Heat on White House and Congress to Enact Immigration Reform

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Three Meetings at the White House Today Assess Progress on Legislation, While Thousands Prepare to Rally March 21

Washington, DC – Grassroots leaders are turning up the volume on calls for the Obama Administration and Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform this year.  Their efforts will culminate in a huge rally on the national mall, set for March 21, where tens of thousands of Americans and immigrants will demand prompt action on comprehensive immigration reform and a fairer economy for all workers.

It appears that this increased activity and frustration is being heard.  In three meetings today, the White House will meet at the highest levels with key grassroots leaders and legislators to discuss the prospects for action on real, comprehensive immigration reform this year.

Grassroots leaders on immigration, including representatives from the faith community, local coalitions, and labor, will meet with senior White House staff at 12:30, while Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will meet with President Obama at 3 p.m. to discuss the senators’ efforts to develop bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  The Hill is also reporting that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is meeting with the President today to discuss health care and immigration. 

Frank Sharry, a veteran of immigration reform debates in Congress and the Executive Director of America’s Voice, is available to analyze the politics of immigration reform and the prospects for action on legislation in light of today’s developments.

In addition, grassroots leaders attending a 12:30 White House meeting will be available to speak with reporters from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m. EST at the west side entrance by Lafayette Square (on the north side of the White House). 

“Our broken immigration system is not serving the interests of Americans,” Sharry said. “Yet we have within our grasp the ability to solve this problem in a way that reduces illegal immigration dramatically, while creating millions of new taxpayers that will generate billions in new revenue.  For months, the White House and Congressional staff have worked behind the scenes to advance comprehensive immigration reform, but what’s been missing is a clear and public commitment from the President to use his political capital to advance reform this year as promised.  This is why grassroots leaders are ratcheting up pressure on the White House and Congress to act.

“Politicians in Washington seem to be afraid of the immigration issue, but what they don’t get is that the American people are fed up with politicians who fail to deliver real results.  Voters want Congress to pass an immigration reform law that requires immigrants in the U.S. illegally to register and pay taxes on their way to becoming full citizens, which is a fairer and more practical solution than pretending we can actually deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.  It’s time for politicians in Washington to wake up.  The immigration issue is not going to resolve itself, it will take leadership, and the time for action is now.” 

While some pundits in Washington have already dismissed the immigration issue as too politically risky in a mid-term election year, immigrant community leaders are making a persuasive counter argument.  Latino voters are in a position to impact scores of close House and Senate races and they are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress on immigration reform in Congress.  In a year when turnout clearly matters, can Congress and the Administration afford not to make good on promises to advance comprehensive immigration reform?

 America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.