President Obama met with members Congressional Hispanic Caucus this morning to discuss plans for immigration reform. The meeting comes just days before Obama is expected to give a major speech on immigration reform, launching a hard push to pass and immigration reform law this year.
Leading Congressional Hispanic Caucus members who attended the meeting include Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Representatives Rubén Hinojosa of Texas, Xavier Becerra and Linda Sanchez of California, Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and Ben Ray Lujan and Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.
“The President is the quarterback and he will direct the team, call the play, and be pivotal if we succeed,” Rep. Gutierrez said in a statement. “I am very optimistic based on conversations with Republicans in the House and Senate that we will do more than just talk about the immigration issue this year.”
Today’s meeting follows a similar one held last week between the White House and CHC members. Rep. Guiterrez, a leading Congressional prominent of immigration reform and a member of the House Judiciary Committee, confirmed to Colorlines.com last week that he met with the White House.
The president appears to be on the brink of a full court press on immigration reform. The Wall Street Journal reported today that Obama will travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday where he will deliver a speech on immigration. Though the president has said reforming immigration law tops his 2013 policy agenda, he has provided few details about a plan. The meeting today and the Tuesday speech may fill in the gaps.
A number of congressional Democrats and Republicans have spent much of the last month preparing a renewed push for comprehensive immigration reform. A bi-partisan group of Senators promised to release a set of guiding principles this month, and Senator Marco Rubio, a leading Republican, has already offered his own vision. Late last year, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus released its own principles.
It’s still not clear whether the opening gambit on immigration law reform will come from the bi-partisan Senate group, from Republican lawmakers like Rubio, or from the White House. Whether reform advocates can garner enough support from House Republicans to pass a bill remains unclear and according to a CHC press release, the president and lawmakers today discussed how to generate bi-partisan support. Hill staffers generally agree that the language for reform package will emerge in March.