Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Obama Urges Bipartisan Support for Immigration Reform

President Barack Obama discussed immigration reform at a White House meeting on Tuesday with politicians from both sides of the aisle, including business and religious leaders, stressing the need for bipartisan support to fix the nation’s “broken immigration system.”

“The president noted that he will continue to work to forge bipartisan consensus and will intensify efforts to lead a civil debate on this issue in the coming weeks and months,” a White House readout of meeting stated.

The guest list included Democrat Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, as well as Republicans Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City, and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“It is a constructive step toward launching a comprehensive reform effort,” Castro said at the conclusion of the meeting.  “I am convinced that he believes it is worthwhile to try.”

The President would like to see increased border security and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants included in a comprehensive immigration reform package, but Republicans are against the plan which they say amounts to amnesty.

“Any form of amnesty will only encourage more illegal immigration,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which oversees federal immigration laws.  Congress members, including Lamar, were not invited to the closed-door meeting of about 70 people.

Immigration reform has proven a difficult task for the Obama administration and the President conveyed his disappointment in the failure to pass the DREAM Act late last year.  The bill, which would have allowed young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country illegally by their parents as children to apply for citizenship if they attend college or serve in the military, was blocked by Senate Republicans in a procedural vote.

“I don’t much care how comprehensive immigration reform gets done, I would just like to see it get done — whether it is before a political season, during a political season or after a political season.” Castro said.

At the meeting, Obama said that in order to win the future, perpetuating a broken immigration system is not an option.

“The President noted that he will continue to work to forge bipartisan consensus and will intensify efforts to lead a civil debate on this issue in the coming weeks and months, but also noted that he cannot be successful if he is leading the debate alone,” the White House said.

USA TODAY
My San Antonio