President Obama reiterated his commitment to moving immigration reform forward yesterday during comments made at the North American Summit held in Guadalajara, Mexico. The President’s comments point to the pressing need for Secretary Napolitano to move aggressively as the President’s point person and for Congress to step up and start the legislative debate.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “while some are interpreting the President’s comments as a step back on immigration reform, we view them as a confirmation of his commitment to get comprehensive immigration reform legislation enacted in the coming months. In fact, this is the most specific he has been with regard to when the bill will be ready and when the floor debates will take place.”
Sharry cautioned, however, that, “past experience shows that delays can derail the best of intentions. President Bush waited too long to embrace comprehensive immigration reform as a legislative priority and it cost the cause dearly. If legislation is to be enacted in early 2010, the President’s point person, DHS Secretary Napolitano, should move more aggressively to tee up legislation this fall and the judiciary committees in both the House and Senate should begin consideration of legislative proposals before the end of the year. This will honor the commitment the President has made to move on reform this year, and make it much more likely that the floor debates in both chambers will take place in early 2010.”
Added Sharry, “the American public is hungry for leaders to step up and reform of our broken immigration system. They want illegal immigration stopped, immigrants here to be legal, a fair process that encourages immigrants to work towards citizenship, and a system where everyone plays fair and pays their fair share.”