After a few false starts, President Obama's much-anticipated immigration reform summit with House and Senate lawmakers is still on track for Thursday. The White House has not released an agenda or list of attendees for tomorrow's meeting, so we don't know if the meeting has a defined goal other than to kick-start comprehensive immigration reform discussions.
We do know where the President stands on the issue. As a reminder, here is a list of President Obama's guiding principles for immigration as listed on the White House website:
President Obama believes that our broken immigration system can only be fixed by putting politics aside and offering a complete solution that secures our border, enforces our laws, and reaffirms our heritage as a nation of immigrants. He believes our immigration policy should be driven by our best judgment of what is in the economic interest of the United States and what is in the best interest of the American worker. President Obama recognizes that an orderly, controlled border and an immigration system designed to meet our economic needs are important pillars of a healthy and robust economy.
Senator Charles Schumer, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security will attend tomorrow's summit and has released his own set of guiding principles. The Senator says that comprehensive immigration reform legislation can be passed this session and as soon as later this year. In a press release, Senator Schumer announced seven principles that he said would for the basis for the legislation he intends to introduce by fall:
- Illegal immigration is wrong, and a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.
- Operational control of our borders--through significant additional increases in infrastructure, technology, and border personnel--must be achieved within a year of enactment of legislation.
- A biometric-based employer verification system—with tough enforcement and auditing—is necessary to significantly diminish the job magnet that attracts illegal aliens to the United States and to provide certainty and simplicity for employers.
- All illegal aliens present in the United States on the date of enactment of our bill must quickly register their presence with the United States Government—and submit to a rigorous process of converting to legal status and earning a path to citizenship—or face imminent deportation.
- Family reunification is a cornerstone value of our immigration system. By dramatically reducing illegal immigration, we can create more room for both family immigration and employment-based immigration.
- We must encourage the world’s best and brightest individuals to come to the United States and create the new technologies and businesses that will employ countless American workers, but must discourage businesses from using our immigration laws as a means to obtain temporary and less-expensive foreign labor to replace capable American workers; and finally
- We must create a system that converts the current flow of unskilled illegal immigrants into the United States into a more manageable and controlled flow of legal immigrants who can be absorbed by our economy.
President Obama has voiced his commitment to passing immigration reform, but according to the White House, what the President wants and what he ends up getting might be two different things. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is quoted in Roll Call: “I can see the president’s desire for it to happen but understanding that currently where we sit the math makes that real difficult.”
If you haven't already voiced your opinion, tell us about the first thing that you would change about the immigration system.
Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images