National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Not Exactly March Madness, But It Is “The Tip-Off to a Whole New Ball Game”

March 19, 2009

President, Speaker Reaffirm Commitment to Immigration Reform


 


Washington, DCAt a townhall-style meeting in Costa Mesa, California, Wednesday evening, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to pursuing comprehensive immigration reform.  This came just hours after a productive first meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on immigration at the White House.  Today, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also reaffirmed her commitment to moving comprehensive immigration reform while speaking at a Capital Hill conference sponsored by the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.  Finally, in a letter to the President, Arizona Representatives Jeff Flake, a Republican, and Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat, also call for comprehensive immigration reform.  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.


 


The President said he would begin the long and difficult work of hammering out comprehensive immigration reform and he is living up to his word.  He is reaching out to the right people, he is unafraid to say this is a priority, and he clearly spelled out his approach in his remarks in Costa Mesa.


 


To have the Speaker of the House echoing the President puts an exclamation point on the fact that we have just witnessed the tip-off to a whole new ball game.


 


The President will take a lot of heat from the anti-immigration right and the opponents of reform, but that is to be expected.  They are extraordinarily loud about who and what they are against, but completely silent when it comes to rational, achievable solutions.  Mass expulsion is not going to happen and they do not have a plan B.


 


The President will also take a lot of heat from some on the left who do not want legalization of immigrants served with a serious commitment to border security and enforcement.  However, they are absolutely right to want immediate cessation of raids that are ripping families apart, detention conditions that are an embarrassment, a legal process designed to minimize rights, police who deport rather than protect and serve, and ICE strike teams that go after families, tax-payers, and workers while seeming to ignore violent criminals and predators. 


 


Getting hit from the left and the right is a good sign that the President is pointing in a good direction.  Across faith, labor, small business, and community groups there is a deep well of support for immigration reform.  The President, the Speaker, and their allies in both parties on Capitol Hill are just beginning to tap into the sense that Americans want concrete change on issues that have seemed too difficult to solve in the past.


 


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