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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

OBAMA PROMISES TO PUSH FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM THIS YEAR

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Congrats to President Obama on his first 100 days in office. And well done on keeping immigration reform on the front burner. During his prime time press conference last night, the President had this to say about immigration reform:

Okay. Lori Montenegro.


Q: Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, when you met with the
Hispanic caucus a few weeks ago, reports came out that the White House
was planning to have a forum to talk about immigration and bring it to
the forefront. Going forward, my question is, what is your strategy to
try to have immigration reform? And are you still on the same timetable
to have it accomplished in the first year of your presidency? And also
I'd like to know if you're going to reach out to Senator John McCain,
who is Republican and in the past has favored immigration reform?


THE PRESIDENT: Well, we reach out to Senator McCain on a whole host
of issues. He has been a leader on immigration reform; I think he has
had the right position on immigration reform, and I would love to
partner with him and others on what is going to be a critical issue.
We've also worked with Senator McCain on what I think is a terrific
piece of legislation that he and Carl Levin have put together around
procurement reform. We want that moved and we're going to be working
hard with them to get that accomplished.


What I told the congressional Hispanic caucus is exactly what I
said the very next day in a town hall meeting and what I will continue
to say publically, and that is we want to move this process. We can't
continue with a broken immigration system. It's not good for anybody.
It's not good for American workers. It's dangerous for Mexican would-be
workers who are trying to cross a dangerous border. It is putting a
strain on border communities who oftentimes have to deal with a host of
undocumented workers, and it keeps those undocumented workers in the
shadows, which means they can be exploited at the same time as they're
depressing U.S. wages.


So what I hope to happen is that we're able to convene a working
group, working with key legislators, like Luis Gutierrez and Nydia
Velázquez and others, to start looking at a framework of how this
legislation might be shaped. In the meantime, what we're trying to do
is take some core -- some key administrative steps to move the process
along to lay the groundwork for legislation, because the American
people need some confidence that if we actually put a package together
we can execute.


So Janet Napolitano, who has great knowledge of this because of
having been a border governor, she's already in the process of
reviewing and figuring out how can we strengthen our border security in
a much more significant way than we're doing. If the American people
don't feel like you can secure the borders, then it's hard to strike a
deal that would get people out of the shadows and on a pathway to
citizenship who are already here, because the attitude of the average
American is going to be, well, you're just going to have hundreds of
thousands of more coming in each year. On the other hand, showing that
there's a more thoughtful approach than just raids of a handful of
workers -- as opposed to, for example, taking seriously the violations
of companies that sometimes are actively recruiting these workers to
come in -- that's again, something that we can start doing
administratively.


So what we want to do is to show that we are competent in getting
results around immigration, even on the structures that we already have
in place, the laws that we already have in place, so that we're
building confidence among the American people that we can actually
follow through on whatever legislative approach emerges.


Q: Do you feel confident --


THE PRESIDENT: I see the process moving this first year, and I'm
going to be moving it as quickly as I can. I've been accused of doing
too much. We are moving full steam ahead on all fronts. Ultimately, I
don't have control of the legislative calendar. And so we're going to
work with legislative leaders to see what we can do.




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Comments

  1. Geroge Chell's Avatar
    The key word is the process...testing the political waters and moving slowly. However, if the economy does snap back and unemployment falls sharply later this year or early next, there is a chance!
  2. zigfried's Avatar
    This conference is lots of fluff and not much substance on immigration. It's all just to placate the Hispanic voters, i.e. to seem like something is being discussed or done without actually saying od doing anything. How sad...
  3. Kavi's Avatar
    It is disgusting to note that there is no one to speak for the green cards for those who have been waiting for years and are legaly staying in USA. Can we hope the congress will wake up one day to stabilize the broken immigration system like the interest they are showing in legalizing the illegal immigrants. It looks like the congress has also forgotten about much needed visas for Registered Nurses as well. There were lot of rumors that new version of 5924 will be presented in April but nothing happened.
  4. Another voice's Avatar
    I believe that the Specter defection to the Dems is a game changer for CIR. They will continue to talk about it for a while while the legislative work is done. Then they will probably use the 2006 proposal as a blue print. Nothing meaning full will happen until the fall because the president still has to deal with the economy, Health care and energy which he WILL get done before immigration, at least those are the priorities they have. Hopefully in CIR can deal with the problem comprehensively to fix the immigration system that affects many people with different immigration status and problems within their status, I DO NOT think they will do one group before the other but the president does one to keep the Hispanics on his side giving him a BIG incentive to address that group, because it will also give him the biggest political cover for 2010 and re-election while tackling this very controversial legislation. Like it or not THAT IS HOW WASHINGTON WORKS!!!!
  5. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Specter was already a yes vote on CIR so I don't see him being critical. Franken is more important as Coleman was a no vote the last time. There are still a few Democrats who are problems and we'll have to see whether they are canceled out by moderate Republicans.
  6. Another voice's Avatar
    I agree with you Greg but what I mean about the Specter defection is that in theory the dems have enough votes for that critical cloture vote, give or take that a few people switch sides on each other's teams. That is where I see the significance of the Specter switch...
  7. Kevin's Avatar
    I think there is some positiveness coming back into the economy and peoples psychology as well, my gut tells me that CIR 2009 will be bought up this year in Aug, wether it passes through or not depends, but overall i think it just might. lets hope for the best
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