Rep. Gutierrez: Obama 'Eerily Silent' on Immigration
By Ben Pershing
A key member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus delivered a mixed review of the group's meeting with President Obama today, saying the session "went well" but did not result in any firm commitment by the administration to address immigration reform soon.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D), who worked with Obama in the Illinois congressional delegation, said this afternoon that he and his fellow CHC members "firmly advocated for [Obama] to keep his promise to bring about comprehensive immigration reform." He added that, per the group's preference, immigration was the only subject discussed during the hour-long meeting, and that some members expressed their concerns about the administration's policies on immigration raids and deportations.
The White House has not been particularly vocal on the subject of immigration since Obama took office. After the collapse of the Bush administration's efforts to push through comprehensive reform, the issue remains politically sensitive and has not often appeared on lists of Obama's priorities for his first year in office.
"The president has been silent on this issue, eerily silent to many of us," Gutierrez said, adding that he believes "the administration is still struggling with what to do about comprehensive immigration reform."
Obama did announce during the meeting that he planned to visit Mexico next month, which did not seem to impress Gutierrez much. The Illinois lawmaker was more encouraged, he said, by the president's pledge to "do something public in the coming weeks to reiterate his commitment" to immigration reform.
But Obama did not provide the lawmakers with specifics, and Gutierrez said that while the session was positive, "I think we have to be very careful not to oversell what was accomplished."
The White House, which called the meeting "robust and strategic" in its public statement on today's meeting, has not yet responded to a request for further comment.
March 18, 2009; 4:48 PM ET
Categories: Agenda , House
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