Thursday, June 25, 2009

Obama Meets with Immigration Reform Advocates

President Barack Obama meets today with immigration reform advocates at the White House. The meeting is meant to give some push for legislation urgently demanded by Hispanic leaders. But some of the message is mixed. The Senate immigration subcommittee is wrapping up a bill that includes some features sure to rankle some reformers -- "a national system to verify work documents", with fingerprint of eyescan ID, to upset liberal Democrats; and a lukewarm attitude toward guest workers, a "non-negotiable" demand of business supporters . (See Wahington Post article.)

The White House is expected to stick to its promise of finding the elusive "pathway to citizenship" so it doesn't look like "amnesty". And the president is likely to push a more "compassionate" plan for security on the border and an e-verify upgrade that will capture more employers than desperate workers. Some of these things he's trying administratively already. Nor has he given up hope of recruiting some Republican support of a "bipartisan bill". Now the target is no so much John McCain (R, AZ), whose previous support did not impress his own party, but John Cornyn (R, TX) with a growing Hispanic constituency. Some Republicans do read the election results. Still important Democrats believe there is not likely to be an immigration reform passed this year. In part because of the crowded and already controversial issues before Congress, and in part because there doesn't seem to be the votes. (See comments of Rahm Emanuel and Rep. Luis Gutierrez in Washington Post.)

For the last few years hundreds of high school graduates visited the nation's Capitol for a graduation ceremony. Not uncommon, since thousands of high school seniors parade through the city each spring. This gathering was different -- made up of hundreds of undocumented students just graduated from American high schools. Since they are undocumented, their prospects for higher education and jobs afterwards are limited. The students came to demonstrate the unfairness and waste of talent in current law and to show support for the Dream Act. They held a mock graduation ceremony. (See Wahington Post article.)

No comments: