The Obama administration has been telling Americans that they are going to roll up their sleeves and start talking seriously about immigration reform… Eventually that is… For the second time the White House has postponed the meeting due to “scheduling conflicts.” Apparently some advocates are loosing their patience.
According to FeetIn2Worlds:
The bipartisan meeting, which is expected to include members of both houses of Congress, was scheduled initially for June 8th, then rescheduled for Wed. June 17th. Now, there’s no certainty about the new date…
“The bipartisan meeting at the White House is very important and needs to happen soon”, said Francisco Lopez, the executive director of Oregon-based CAUSA, Oregon’s Immigrant Rights Coalition, which announced an outreach campaign to have allies encourage “the bipartisan meeting to go forward.”
“Patience is wearing thin in the Latino and Immigrant Communities and President Obama needs to follow through with the commitment he made to more than 10 million Latinos that voted in the last Presidential Election,” Lopez added in a press release.
Thought the meeting’s aim is to create a bi-partisan coalition some on the Republican side are skeptical on the level of the discussion. According to La Plaza Blog it is unclear if the President will invite former presidential candidate Arizona Senator John McCain, a longtime proponent of a comprehensive immigration reform.
Other Members feeling left out include House Judiciary Committee ranking member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Immigration subcommittee ranking member Steve King (R-Iowa). Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, and an outspoken anti-illegal immigration advocate, who was also not invited to meeting said, “If you’re going to have a meeting you have to include the ranking members of the committees of jurisdiction.”
Immigration affects many sectors of society from immigrant groups, business organizations, local governments and many others. Hispanic organizations have become heavily involved in the political discussion as many immigrants are of Hispanic / Latino decent. (NOTE: To clarify not all immigrants are Latino.)
In 2006 as Executive Director of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly I participated in many of the Bush White House’s bi-partisan immigration reform meetings. These meetings were essential in working out ideas, understanding the complicated legislation, and where support was in congress and in the public.
I think we have a very small window to pass immigration reform. The sooner it can be done the more likely something can pass through Congress. Though the next election is about a year and half away, in today’s mega information society, its practically around the corner. I worry of waiting too long and getting too close to an election where Members of Congress are more worried about voter perception than truly thinking out policies and long term impact. Personally, I think we have to get something done and finished this year. With so many other things on Obama’s plate I am interested to see how he juggles all of his priorities.
Several Republicans have asked me how to approach immigration. They don’t support amnesty but do understand the horrible implications of massive deportations (imagine millions of Elian Gonazalez style pictures). I know that I don’t have all the answers but I do know Republicans must become a strong voice on immigration reform and provide constructive and positive reforms. We are suppose to be the party of ideas. If they are portrayed as the group that wants to kill immigration reform it will haunt them forever.