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Momentum is building for Immigration Reform—as confirmed by President Obama

March 19, 2009 - Posted by Mario Moreno


Photo by Iceman9294

The wheels are in motion for the Obama Administration and Congress to start fixing our broken immigration system. In the last few weeks, we have heard encouraging signs from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel that immigration reform will be addressed in 2009. We are now hearing it again from President Obama himself (this time in English!) during a Town Hall meeting in Costa Mesa, CA. The full transcript is available on the Los Angeles Times blog,

“I [have] reiterated my belief that we have to have comprehensive immigration reform.

Now, I know this is an emotional issue, I know it's a controversial issue, I know that the people get real riled up politically about this, but -- but ultimately, here's what I believe:  We are a nation of immigrants, number one. 

Number two, we do have to have control of our borders.  Number three that people who have been here for a long time and put down roots here have to have some mechanism over time to get out of the shadows, because if they stay in the shadows, in the underground economy, then they are oftentimes pitted against American workers. 

Since they can't join a union, they can't complain about minimum wages, et cetera, they end up being abused, and that depresses the wages of everybody, all Americans. 

After describing why the current status quo is unacceptable and detrimental to the rights of all workers, President Obama continued to emphasize the urgency for reform and the need to do it in a comprehensive way,

So I don't think that we can do this [immigration reform] piecemeal.  I think what we have to do is to come together and say, we're going to strengthen our borders…. 

So we've got to deal with that at the same time as we deal in a humane fashion with folks who are putting down roots here, have become our neighbors, have become our friends, they may have children who are U.S. citizens.  That's the kind of comprehensive approach that we have to take. 

Full text of President Obama's Costa Mesa Town Hall meeting, March 18, 2009

The Town Hall statements were given just hours after President Obama met with the entire Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) to only discuss immigration.  As reported by Congress Daily, the meeting focused on sharing an agenda and plan for moving immigration reform forward in 2009,


"The president made clear to us that he is a man of his word. He clearly understands the consequences of a broken immigration system," said Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y. "President Obama has committed to working with us as we continue to lead on this issue, and serve as advocates for the immigrant community."


… A congressional aide said Obama committed to work with the Hispanic Caucus and "start the process" of holding meetings and forums on immigration reform within the next few months.


…"The great thing is that the political space is there," said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. He said there is "a moral, political and economic" reason for Congress to take up immigration reform this year.



Washington cannot duck this issue. The drumbeat for immigration reform is growing increasingly loud and leadership is taking the first steps toward developing a broad strategy that will solve a problem the American people want solved.




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