President Obama recently met with a select group of business, political, religious, and labor leaders on April 19 of this year to discuss possible immigration reform. Some of the people present included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York City Police Chief Raymond Kelly, and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. According to the New York Times, President Obama expressed his commitment to reforming our broken immigration system and this meeting was a strategy session on how to revive pro-immigration legislation that has been languishing in Congress.
Let's hope that this is the first of many meetings President Obama has planned to bring immigration reform back to the forefront--and not just rhetoric to jumpstart his re-election campaign. The immigration system is clearly broken--and has been for some time. Many opponents of immigration reform fear that "amnesty" will ruin the country, reward those who have violated immigration laws, and displace American workers. However, I don't think that anyone is looking to just throw a blanket over the problem and legalize illegal and undocumented aliens indiscriminately. Issues of accountability and responsibility must obviously be addressed and worked into the law. Moreover, the way things are shaping up, any new legislation may focus more on business visas than helping those here illegally. According to some inside the closed meeting, the president was looking for a way to "change the debate" and entice more Republicans to support immigration change, noting that an immigration overhaul was essential in aiding our economic recovery. At this point, any positive immigration legislation, whether it be business or family related, is welcome. We have to start somewhere.