On Thursday, President Obama met with members of Congress to discuss Immigration Reform. Some 30 influential lawmakers from both parties and both chambers attended, and after the meeting, the president released a statement saying: “My administration is fully behind an effort to achieve comprehensive immigration reform.”
The President made no promises about timing, but he made very clear that it’s time to get to work – “not put it off until a year, two years, three, five years from now, but to start working on this thing right now.”
Additionally, Sen. John McCain led Republicans in voicing strong support for what Business needs in a bill: an ample pipeline for the foreign workers we as a nation will need in the future to grow the economy to enter the country legally. After the meeting, McCain told reporters: the reforms also must include a temporary worker program for agricultural and high-tech industries that rely on non-U.S. citizen labor. "I can't support any proposal that doesn't have a legal temporary worker program and I would expect the president of the United States to put his influence on the unions in order to change their position," McCain added.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer told reporters after the White House meeting that Obama had set a goal of passing legislation by the end of this year or early next year. The President said, "It's going to require some heavy lifting. It's going to require a victory of practicality and common sense and good policymaking over short-term politics."
In the meantime, President Obama asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to meet regularly with lawmakers to systematically work through a number of controversial issues, such as how to handle the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the United States and how to prevent future illegal immigration.
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