WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama will speak on the need for comprehensive immigration reform in Nevada next week, White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Friday. Obama will urge “working with Republicans and Democrats to get it done.” Earlier Friday, Obama met with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and other Hispanic lawmakers to discuss immigration reform in a meeting that was not on Obama’s public schedule.
Gutierrez said that Obama told the delegation from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that immigration reform would be a top priority.
Besides Gutierrez, the Caucus Immigration Task Force chair, attendees included CHC Chairman Rep. Rubn Hinojosa (D-TX); Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).
Gutierrez has also been meeting with Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) to try to build bi-partisan support for immigration reform. My column on those meetings is HERE.
After the Obama meeting Gutierrez said in a statement, “The President is the quarterback and he will direct the team, call the play, and be pivotal if we succeed. I am very optimistic based on conversations with Republicans in the House and Senate that we will do more than just talk about the immigration issue this year. The President putting his full weight and attention behind getting a bill signed into law is tremendously helpful. We need the President and the American people all putting pressure on the Congress to act because nothing happens in the Capitol without people pushing from the outside.
“For my community in Chicago, the biggest issue is the deportations and keeping families together, not putting kids in foster care or uprooting them when parents are deported. Family unity is the urgency behind reforming our immigration system. Every day that passes, another 1,000 people are deported and hundreds of kids, U.S. citizen kids, lose a parent to deportation. We have got to act and act quickly.”