President Barack Obama met with Rev. Al Sharpton and other elected officials and religious, labor and civil rights leaders to discuss how to fix what he calls the nation's "broken" immigration system.
The attendees also discussed how people can work together to foster a constructive national conversation on this important issue as we work to build a bipartisan consensus in Congress, said the White House.
Back in 2008, then candidate-Obama pledged that he would enact reform, but that never happened. But since President Obama is again candidate-Obama, he is reaching out to Hispanics and other immigrants’ advocates to ensure they will give him the same support in 2012 as they did in 2008.
The White House meeting led to no legislative breakthroughs, but rather a call to action.
“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 White House said in a statement. “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 meeting took place two days before Obama plans to visit Los Angeles on Thursday to raise money for his re-election campaign.
In 2008 Obama won 67 percent of the Latino vote, more than double the 31 percent garnered by his Republican challenger, Arizona Sen. John McCain, according to AP. Immigrants and their advocates plan to protest outside the fundraiser in opposition to Obama’s immigration stance. Just this year, the government has deported almost 400,000 illegal immigrants, writes the AP.
(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)