A project of the Center for Community Change

A Way Forward on Immigration

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Last Thursday’s meeting at the White House was hailed by many as merely a symbolic gesture to “dampen” expectations of immigration reform this year. The truth, however, is that it was a clear sign that immigration reform under the Obama administration will happen – and soon.

Today, the New York Times has an insightful op-ed on what the meeting means in the fight for reform.

It led to a persuasive show of unity among Republicans and Democrats. Both sides made the case for getting a comprehensive reform bill written and passed this year, or early next. Mr. Obama announced that the homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, would lead a working group of both parties and houses of Congress to do that.

It now seems more likely than before that Mr. Obama is ready to lead the way, uniting problem-solvers in both parties out of a long-stalemated debate.

For the skeptics out there who think that the administration will only continue to pay lip-service to this issue, with no action, I think you must consider what is at stake if the administration fails to act

He’d better, because the alternative — another crashing letdown and the traditional exchanges of blame — is awful to consider. Expectations for reform have been steadily rising since the unprecedented Hispanic turnout and Democratic victories of last November. Those hopes have been given a dreadful urgency by the harsh enforcement regime of raids and deportations begun under the Bush administration, which have piled suffering onto hopelessness for millions of people, but not brought the country any closer to a solution.

The way forward is clear. Immigration reform is priority for Congress and the Obama administration and it will be addressed.

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