Obama Holds Closed Door Immigration Meeting

The president said he was pleased with the progress being made on immigration reform in the Senate.
Newly reelected President Obama holds his first full-length White House press conference since June.

Newly reelected President Obama holds his first full-length White House press conference since June.

President Obama met today at the White House with the leaders of several faith-based groups to discuss the status of immigration reform.

The meeting was closed to the press, but according to a White House readout, the president told the various leaders that “there is good progress being made [on immigration reform] by a bipartisan group in the Senate.”

More from the readout:

The President thanked the leaders for their support and reiterated his strong commitment to working with Congress in a bipartisan manner so that they can swiftly pass and send a commonsense immigration reform bill to his desk. The leaders expressed their concerns over the impact the broken immigration system is having on families throughout their congregations. The President and the leaders discussed the pillars the President has put forward for reform, including that any bill must include a pathway to earned citizenship, as well as measures to crack down on employers who game the system and exploit both American and immigrant workers, continuing to strengthen our border security, and strengthening the legal immigration system for families, employers, and workers.

Participants in the meeting included:

•         Leith Anderson, National Association of Evangelicals

•         Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief

•         Bishop Minerva Carcaño, United Methodist Church

•         Rev. Luis Cortés, President, Esperanza

•         Barrett Duke, Southern Baptist Convention

•         Bishop Orlando Findlayter, Senior Pastor, New Hope Christian Fellowship

•         Archbishop José Horacio Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles

•         Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society

•         Rev. Kathryn Lohre, National Council of Churches

•         Imam Mohamed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America

•         Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

•         Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition

•         Dieter Uchtdorf, Second Counselor, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

•         Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners

Obama did not comment on the status of dialogue in the House, which appears to be dormant right now. Lawmakers in the lower chamber are going to have to quickly revive talks if Obama is to have any chance of getting his wish for a comprehensive bill this year.

The president’s meeting today followed a private sit-down he held yesterday with a group of Jewish leaders, who expressed concern that Obama is taking too soft an approach toward Iran’s nuclear program. The president reportedly assured the leaders that he will “beat his chest” to prove how committed he is to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Geoff Holtzman
Geoff Holtzman is Talk Radio News Service's Deputy Bureau Chief. As one of TRNS's primary correspondents, he helps cover the White House and Capitol Hill. Geoff also covered the 2012 presidential campaign, following the candidates to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida and elsewhere. In the process, he learned that not all Motel 6's are created equal. Follow Geoff on Twitter @Geoff_Holtzman.

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