National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


More Signs Immigration Reform Is On-Track

March 19, 2009

President Obama’s Meeting With Congressional Hispanic Caucus Positive, Encouraging, Advocate Says

Washington, DCThe entirety of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met with President Barack Obama today at the White House and immigration reform was the sole item on the agenda.  The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-Partisan pro-immigrant advocacy organization based in Washington.

Everything we’ve heard about the meeting is very encouraging.  The President promised on the campaign trail and has reiterated more recently that immigration reform will be addressed in his first year and the ball is clearly rolling in that direction.  It is a very positive sign when the President engages directly with the Members of Congress most knowledgeable and most passionate about reforming our out-dated, punitive, and irrational immigration mess.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus she chairs are engaged in a serious dialogue with the President.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are moving in the right direction and we think the stars are aligning for action this year. 

Having felt the sting of harsh rhetoric, talk of mass deportations, and seeing no real progress on reform, immigrants who could become citizens did and then turned out in record numbers last November.  Those voters, who because of the immigration issue broke 2-1 for the President and his party, voted for change – change that will mean the difference between their families being broken apart or their families being able to pursue the American Dream.  It’s clear the message is getting through.  Joining together with all the other constituencies in business, faith, labor, and the immigrant and non-immigrant communities that support immigration reform, progress is being made.

The President is preparing to meet with Mexican President Calderón, which will be another opportunity to discuss how reform can and should be crafted to create a better relationship and a more peaceful border between our countries.  President Obama also indicated that resources currently wasted chasing families, workers, and tax-payers in American businesses and neighborhoods may be redeployed against drug and cartel violence plaguing parts of Mexico and the border.  We will be watching closely to see how the President and Secretary Napolitano reorder enforcement priorities to focus in on violent criminals and actual or potential threats.


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