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Immigration grassroots activists who met with Obama reveal what went down at the White House

LatinaLista — President Obama should be especially tired today. Between the GOP’s constant attacks on his healthcare bill and two meetings with immigration reform advocates pressing him to do something, he should be feeling like one of those rubber Gumby dolls — pulled in all different directions.

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Yet, after a day capped off with an update from the bi-partisan Congressional duo, Senators Schumer and Graham, who are responsible for crafting a new Senate immigration reform bill, it would seem the President has regained his form — at least, according to the statement released by the White House this afternoon:


Three of the fourteen immigration reform advocates who met with President Obama today are: (L-R) Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President, SEIU; Reverend John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, Catholic Church;Reverend Luis Cortes, President, Esperanza USA


Statement by the President on Today’s Meetings on Immigration Reform


Today I met with Senators Schumer and Graham and was pleased to learn of their progress in forging a proposal to fix our broken immigration system. I look forward to reviewing their promising framework, and every American should applaud their efforts to reach across party lines and find commonsense answers to one of our most vexing problems.

I also heard from a diverse group of grassroots leaders from around the country about the growing coalition that is working to build momentum for this critical issue. I am optimistic that their efforts will contribute to a favorable climate for moving forward.

I told both the Senators and the community leaders that my commitment to comprehensive immigration reform is unwavering, and that I will continue to be their partner in this important effort.

Several of the grassroots leaders who met with the President released statements of their own — and they were a little more forthcoming than the President about what went down at the White House.

Today Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and Chair of the Reform Immigration for America Campaign met with President Obama and was joined by other immigrant rights leaders from grassroots, labor, and faith organizations for a meeting at the White House on next steps for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

We had a lively and straightforward meeting with the President and his staff. We made clear that we expect him to keep his promise to overhaul our broken immigration system. We need a system that is fair, just, humane, and that serves our nation’s interests.

The President indicated that his administration is committed to driving a bill forward in the spring of 2010. Based on our conversation, we are optimistic and expecting aggressive and urgent action from the White House on comprehensive immigration reform before March 21st. That day, tens of thousands of Americans are prepared to take an unprecedented action carrying forward the President’s commitment to comprehensive immigration reform in Congress and finally fixing our broken immigration system.


Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change.

“The President today heard two messages loud and clear. He heard about the pain caused by the administration’s enforcement only approach to immigration and how it is tearing families apart. He also heard about the possible consequences of breaking his promises to deliver comprehensive reform: a growing backlash in the immigrant and Latino communities.

“We walk away from this very productive meeting optimistic that if the White House follows through on its commitments, comprehensive reform can be achieved this year. Organizers are doing their part. This meeting is the direct result of the tens of thousands of people preparing to march on Washington on the 21st of this month. Now, the President and Congress need to do their part.”

Josh Hoyt, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Refugee Rights (ICIRR)

Esperanza President Luis Cortes, Jr (in Spanish)

Gustavo Torres, Executive Director of CASA de Maryland (in Spanish)


“We believe that his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform is real, but we also know we want results and so that’s what we’ll be expecting within the next couple of weeks,” said Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

(Editor’s Note: All video supplied by America’s Voice.)

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  • Bryan J.
    March 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    This is good news. Thanks for sharing

  • Georgia Hedrick
    March 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Thank goodness someone is pushing forward on immigration. Too many people live in too much fear of deportation. That’s no way to live.
    We were founded on immigration; when did everyone in government forget that?

  • Texan123
    March 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Georgia, People who choose to violate the law should fear.
    You all know that what you are doing is wrong. You are betraying the trust of the American people by stealing ID’s and jobs. For this you expect or demand reward.
    The U.S. was not founded on illegal immigration. Our Federal government has betrayed it citizens by refusing to protect jobs from those who deceive and lie with false documents. Victims of Identity Theft get no help from the gov., IRS, or law enforcement. It can take months or years to clear our name. Americans are being forced to BUY ID THEFT PROTECTION. How crazy is that?
    Rest assured. If reform passes and you get legal status, you will eventually be targeted by the new wave of illegal immigrants looking to steal ID and jobs.
    As for me, I can quit my job and stop paying income taxes. You guys will be supporting me for a change.

  • Mohammed Upmeyer
    March 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    For a long time we are going to praise the Democrats.

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