Obama meets with leaders about immigration
April 19th, 2011
07:05 PM ET

Obama meets with leaders about immigration

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama met this afternoon with a variety of government, religious, and business leaders behind closed doors to discuss immigration. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rev. Al Sharpton were among the attendees. According to the White House, the president and the group discussed the failure to pass the DREAM Act and "stressed that in order to successfully tackle this issue they must bring the debate to communities around the country and involve many sectors of American society in insisting that Congress act to create a system that meets our nation's needs for the 21st century and that upholds America's history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."

 
Full the full readout of the meeting, provided by the White House, click below.

Readout of the President's Meeting with Stakeholders on Fixing the Broken Immigration System

In a meeting in the State Dining Room this afternoon, the President and members of his Cabinet and senior staff met with a broad group of business, law enforcement, faith, and former and current elected leaders from across the political spectrum to hear their ideas and suggestions on how to tackle our shared challenge of fixing our nation’s broken immigration system in order to meet our 21st century economic and security needs.

The President reiterated his deep disappointment that Congressional action on immigration reform has stalled and that the DREAM Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate after passing with a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House in December. The President listened to stakeholders describe a variety of problems that result from the broken system, including: educating the best and brightest but then shipping that talent overseas; concerns over the ability of businesses to reliably hire and retain a legal workforce; and the need to level the playing field for American workers by ending the underground labor market.  In addition, local law enforcement officers expressed concern that without reform, enforcing federal immigration laws is a distraction from their important public safety and crime fighting mandates to keep their local communities safe, and faith leaders highlighted the damage to families and communities when families are separated, including parents who are taken away from their U.S. Citizen children.

The President reiterated his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform that both strengthens security at our borders while restoring accountability to the broken immigration system, and pointed out that perpetuating a broken immigration system is not an option if America is to win the future.

The President made it clear that while his Administration continues to improve our legal immigration system, secure our borders, and enhance our immigration enforcement so that it is more effectively and sensibly focusing on criminals, the only way to fix what’s broken about our immigration system is through legislative action in Congress. 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 President urged meeting participants to take a public and active role to lead a constructive and civil debate on the need to fix the broken immigration system.  He stressed that in order to successfully tackle this issue they must bring the debate to communities around the country and involve many sectors of American society in insisting that Congress act to create a system that meets our nation's needs for the 21st century and that upholds America's history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. The President further committed that his Cabinet and White House team will follow up with each participant to maximize the outcome of this meeting in order to elevate the immigration debate. 

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Brittanicus

    In a letter to U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, one of the Leftist Czar in the Justice Department, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has labeled Utah's guest worker amnesty as "illegal" and expressed consternation at Attorney General Holder's obvious refusal to enforce the law in Utah when he has been so quick to counter Arizona's interior enforcement laws. This shows the Liberal influence pushing for some form–any form of amnesty, that the TEA PARTY will fight as the costs are astronomical, and it overruling the laws of of our country. This is a contradiction to Janet Napolitano stating that the Border fence is more secure than ever before.

    On Fox News and on C-Span TV broadcasts, has illustrated the mess our immigration laws are? Not because they are poorly organized, but because the laws are not enforced. If the TEA PARTY has any effect on this major problem, the will be no Comprehensive Immigration Reform (AMNESTY): killing Sanctuary State policies, the Dream Act Amnesty; Chain migration (Amnesty) or anything else that stinks of Amnesty for lawbreakers. That’s why we have millions of illegal aliens pouring into this country, because at some vfuture time, they expect–MASS AMNESTY. It never worked in 1986, so it certainly will not work now? Not because of bad leadership at the borders, but owing to the fact that hundreds of miles in this dangerous territory, the US Border Patrol clashes with stupid, environmental laws imposed by the Bureau of Land Management , Game and Fisheries and Forest, Parks and Public lands.

    Rancher Jim Chilton put this lie to rest, by stating to a federal committee, that his 50 miles of border, of which he owns is wide open to the drug traffickers and illegal people smugglers. Jim Chilton added where there is a fence, it is no different to what you see rusting along any highway. In Chilton testimony he explained to the mix of party members, that the people live in fear along the border. If you leave your home it’s likely to get broken into. His own ranch had been burglarized twice and he cannot go outside, unless he is fully armed. So because of land managed laws, the US border Patrol must ask for permission to enter certain areas of land, because of such things as the endangered species Act. While at the same time the criminal surveillance persons have the most expensive binoculars and other equipment to watch the movement of the border patrol. The Border agents are essentially not patrolling along the border fence, where they are needed.

    Is there some ominous connection between the drug cartels and why the–REAL–fences, between our southern border and our National security? Does it seem strange to anybody else that after the 2006 Secure Fence Act was enacted, almost within a month funding for the bill was cut drastically and even today not even a single fencing has been completed? If the first steel enforced fence had been constructed, with a second fence, some thousand feet apart, maybe the drug traffickers would have not easy access to the children of America. With "drag roads" as they are called, ( parallel patrol tracks between the fences) between the 15 foot chain link fence, adorned with concertina razor wire, manned by permanent National Guard watchtowers within visible sight of each other. One Republican has sponsored a third fence scenario, which would be even a greater deterrent to the drug and illegal alien invasion.

    THE LEFTIST MEDIA WILL NOT DIVULGE THE TRUTH ABOUT THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION QUAGMIRE. NOR DID THEY PUBLICIZE THE RANTS, UGLY SLURS AND RACIAL EPITHETS SCREAMED AT THE LAST TEA PARTY RALLY. THEY ARE SHOOTING FOR MILLIONS OF MORE VOTES; EVEN IF THEY ARE ILLEGALLY VOTING IN ELECTIONS? THE CONFERENCE HELD BY OBAMA IS TO PUSH FOR ANOTHER IMMIGRATION REFORM TRAVESTY.

    America is in a sorry way under numerous administrations, that have built massive governments agencies and many should be closed down. We are overextended in credit and we must bail ourselves out, by cutting costs to thousands of government agencies. With a rising 14 Trillion dollar deficit, that it’s not going away and all Americans must be prepared to draw in the financial belts. The Obama government must draw out the criminals that are stealing from Medicare and Medicaid. Huge criminal organizations are stealing from taxpayers, with dubious doctors and expensive tests. No matter the fiscal Consequences we must not go above the US debt system, by the leftist democrats using fear. Illegal immigration is not a small issue, as it now has grown out of all proportions and costing us billions every year.

    It’s no good expecting the Democrats or the Republicans to dig us out of this mess, as only the TEA PARTY is a growing party, splitting from the wealthy right. They have the empowerment to solve this out-of-control-problem. Visit a local TEA PARTY website no matter what religion, party affiliation, as long as you entered the United States legally.Find out what illegal immigration is costing you. Did you know that you, the taxpayer supports the education for illegal alien children and free health care for the whole family. Do you know that they get priority over US Citizens for low income housing, if they have four children? All these answers and more can be located at NumbersUSA.

    April 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Tom from Canonsburg

      One of the reasons for this problem is that Reagan gave amnesty to the illegals who were here at that time. That was brought on by big businesses & farms that wanted cheep labor. Anyone who doesn't believe that the amnesty was not anything more than a huge green light screaming for more to come on in and get citizenship is naive.

      May 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  2. Galactus999

    Why can't the Federal Government just enforce our current laws. We should be deporting the millions of illegal aliens that have been residing in the United States for year. They and their children have sucked billions of dollars from american taxypayers. They are criminals and should be deported. The people hiring them should be fined. The borders should be secured. This problem has been going on for years. Now the President wants to give them amnesty. No way. Enforce the laws Mr President.

    April 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  3. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @Brittanicus; I agree with your analogy and findings 90%. You gave us a good report of what happened, what didn't happen in the past and what you saw was still not fully and completely happening today. They do need to buckle down on this 'illegal immigration'. However, I do know that everybody who crosses the border is not a drug-dealer or burglar. They're just looking for jobs and a better way of life. As soon as they put their feet on AMERICAN soil though, they need to start applying for naturalization.

    April 20, 2011 at 7:28 am |
  4. alexthealien

    I'll just tell a little story about myself born southern Mexico in 1980, family migrate to Mexico City in 1987, stayed there for 10 years, then opportunity came up when my oldest brother made it to USA in 1997 and told us how nice and quiet this country is and I immediately tough of coming here I went to USA embassy and apply for tourist visa which they denied according to person that interview me I was not coming to USA for leisure or vacation he even went on saying that my plans were to stay and that i was being denied of a Visa, anyway I spent another year trying to gather proof to show them that my intentions were actually to come to USA to study and work so I gave it another shot but then again denied.
    While plans were not exactly going my way I enroll into a community college and got a degree on computer science while working at local computer repair shop , two years after visiting US embassy to apply for a visa, it is now the year of 2000 and I was still trying to come to US, then I tough what if someone or some company is willing to sponsor me to immigrate to the US as Skilled worker I started to look into companies that were hiring IT technicians or the like, sending resume, really expensive phone calls, I even explained what the procedure was like if there were to hire me, it involved a lot reading from me on these issues, none of them were interested after all who is going to spent time and resources just to hire someone in this situation?. Now not a lot people get a chance of education in their own countries there’s tons and tons that don't. Who do we think we are? to even condemn them to criminals after living in such conditions and disarray or maybe you are going trough really harsh times yourself and deforms your perception of humanity but it's understandable for me , stop blaming ,start changing , stop complaining ,start acting, straighten your life in accordance to your moral values and be happy. Don't mind us guys as soon as get our act together just like any of the other illegal aliens as you incorrectly call them , I will become an American Citizen no matter what your arguments are , it's just that easy let's keep it simple, change the things you can change leave alone the ones you can't. If your struggles are financial related, well, look for ways to overcome them, don't just browse the web for charts and census that tell how bad the economy is and how much us illegal immigrants are contributing to make it worse, it is not up to you or anybody! illegal immigration has its roots on human desire by nature we are to seek what's best for us and don't worry about those numbers they don't mean anything they are just numbers playing in your head leave them to the economist or politicians you and I don't play any part of this.
    To finish the story let me say it has a happy ending I now live in USA with wife and kids, things are going great regardless of my not so good standing with DHS I still to this day not being able to become a USA permanent resident and it is not because I don’t want to but simply outdated immigration policy

    April 22, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  5. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @alexthealien; Thank you for that beautiful, but sad story. I appreciate that knowledge. I was unaware of how hard it was for good people who are honestly trying to become naturalized, to get that done. I have heard there was money involved, but just for them to deny you, just because, is not understandable to me and I'm sure many others! I'm sorry for all of the disappointment and inconvenience, I'm sure this has caused you. May GOD bless you and yours in your struggles to become 'AMERICANIZED'.

    April 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm |