As White House Immigration Reform Meeting Looms, Obama Administration Not Sharing Advocates' Urgency

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

May Day immigration reform demonstration in Massachusetts. (Photo: Eduardo A. de Oliveira/EthnicNEWz.org)

A May Day immigration reform demonstration in Massachusetts. (Photo: Eduardo A. de Oliveira/EthnicNEWz.org)

Despite the sense of urgency among immigration advocates, the White House seems prepared for a drawn-out debate over immigration reform.  The conversation should start this Thursday in a meeting with lawmakers from both parties, if President Barack Obama’s schedule finally permits it.

The administration’s deliberate approach suggests that the meeting will not lead to swift action. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said immigration reform is not likely to see much action in Congress this year, as reported by Roll Call.

“I can see the president’s desire for it to happen, but understanding that currently where we sit the math makes that real difficult,” Gibbs said.

The president’s spokesman added that the administration’s expectation is to have “the beginning of formal debate” on the issue later this year.

Statements like these are fueling frustration among pro-immigration reform ranks; especially, when they come after another of Obama’s über-cautious utterances.

On Friday, the president repeated he was “committed” to passing a reform bill, but seemed to take half a step back when he changed his wording about undocumented immigrants from the oft-repeated campaign promise of “a path to citizenship” to the need to “clarify the status of millions who are here illegally.” [ See White House official transcript here ]

According to the Los Angeles Times’ Peter Wallsten, immigration reform may have to wait until after next year’s mid-term elections.

Some strategists believe the most likely time to press the issue will be in 2011, when Obama, once again needing Latino votes to win states such as Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada and perhaps to compete in Texas and Arizona, will be most motivated to lobby nervous Democrats on behalf of a legalization plan.

[ Immigration reform to get a quiet kickoff

Los Angeles Times ]

The White House two-step on immigration policy is nothing new. And it’s starting to exasperate some advocates and observers.

“While both the President and members of Congress continue to talk about the importance of passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform, people are suffering daily under our broken immigration system,” said a statement by Oregon immigrant rights group CAUSA.

“We don’t need more speeches” –it added– “we need serious and concerted action.”

Obama “reiterated his commitment to passing immigration reform, but the urgency of needing to tackle the issue ‘now’ was completely missing from his speech today,” wrote Jennifer McFadyen at About.com. “Unfortunately, this omission fits into his new pattern of declaring his commitment to immigration reform but providing nothing to back it up.”

President Obama needs to “walk the talk” and act on his commitment to immigration reform. Vague timelines and postponements do not fit in with a government that promotes integrity and openness. Don’t leave reformers and immigration advocates hanging.

According to FOX News’ Daniela Sicuranza, Gibbs said Thursday’s meeting is seen in the West Wing as an “ongoing and continued conversation.”

President Obama, the spokesman added, “hopes that [immigration reform] will happen soon, but doesn’t have a crystal ball as to when that might happen.”

6 comments

  1. RexJ123

    Illegal immigrants are suffering because…wait for it…they are here illegally! The US will never have open borders, so anyone who is here illegal better be prepared to lead a miserable life in the shadows. All you bleeding heart liberals and racist Latinos and greedy businesses can lobby all you want, but the American public will never…EVER…give you what you want.

  2. RolandoBaklaChan

    Time ? When ? Promise ? All Talk. Action ? I do not see it. My vote ? Wasted only to a promise that I have not seen.

  3. The 30 million illegals in our country all have to leave.

    There will be NO AMNESTY

    There will be NO HEALTHCARE FOR ILLEGALS.

    There will be NO JOBS FOR ILLEGALS

    Americans are fed up with being overrun by illegals who seem to think they have a right to be here.

    Illegals have NO RIGHT TO BE IN OUR COUNTRY

  4. Pingback: The Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of Today’s White House Meeting on Immigration Reform « Feet In 2 Worlds, Immigration News

  5. The age-old pesky U.S.-Mexico border problem has taxed the resources of both countries, led to long lists of injustices, and appears to be heading only for worse troubles in the future. Guess what? The border problem can never be solved. Why? Because the border IS the problem! It’s time for a paradigm change.

    Never fear, a satisfying, comprehensive solution is within reach: the Megamerge Dissolution Solution. Simply dissolve the border along with the failed Mexican government, and megamerge the two countries under U.S. law, with mass free 2-way migration eventually equalizing the development and opportunities permanently, with justice and without racism, and without threatening U.S. sovereignty or basic principles.

    Click the url and read the details of the new paradigm for U.S.-Mexico relations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *