Immigration Reform – When Exactly Mr. President?

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By Felicia Persaud

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. April 21, 2011: On April 19th in Washington, D.C., President Obama met with several stakeholders, including Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Reverend Al Sharpton, on what was dubbed as “Fixing the Broken Immigration System” of the United States.
As the White House read out told it, in a meeting “in the State Dining Room the President and members of his Cabinet and senior staff met with a broad group of business, law enforcement, faith, and former and current elected leaders from across the political spectrum to hear their ideas and suggestions on how to tackle our shared challenge of fixing our nation’s broken immigration system in order to meet our 21st century economic and security needs.”

Of course, no surprise, as the President again reiterated his deep disappointment that Congressional action on immigration reform has stalled and that the DREAM Act failed to pass in the U.S. Senate after passing with a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House in December and he “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.”
All the same spiel we’ve gotten from Obama since before he even took office. But what continues to be missing in his dialogue is when exactly will this issue be addressed?

Is it going into the 2012 election or is it after he hopefully wins again? Or is he content to ride out this term and then pass it on to the next person who may win the White House if he fails to next year?

These are all questions stakeholders who position themselves as lobbyists on this issue and stand to benefit from it, should ask the President.

It is no longer enough to hear President Obama in discourse after discourse on this say he cannot use his executive powers but his “administration continues to improve our legal immigration system, secure our borders, and enhance our immigration enforcement so that it is more effectively and sensibly focusing on criminals, the only way to fix what’s broken about our immigration system is through legislative action in Congress.”

Enough with the talk Mr. President. The time has come for you to deliver or at least give a time line on when you can. As the old adage says, the proof in the pudding.

Debate and lawmakers in conservative states have been allowed to completely control the dialogue and action on this issue while the President and the White House continue to do nothing but pay lip service.

Rev. Sharpton summed it up in no uncertain terms: “Immigration reform must be a priority” and the country must unite behind “a humane but legal policy that does not threaten American citizens nor violate American law but at the same time deals with the basic need of building this country.”
As I said in my last column, businesses hold the key in making reform happen sooner rather than later. Mayor Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch and all the others who benefit from immigrant labor must step up their game and do more than Obama – less talk and more action in pushing for a bi-partisan support for reform that grants legal working papers and travel documents to undocumented migrants living in the shadows.
The writer is founder of News AmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.