On May 13, President Barack Obama told the American public that he hopes members of the Senate and House of Representatives can come together in agreement on immigration reform. He expressed concern that once midterm elections are in full swing, the nation’s politicians will be too busy winning votes and holding fundraisers for their campaigns.
The president has been vocal about his stance on immigration reform, stating more than once that he supports a compromise between the Senate and House of Representatives as long as there is a clause that gives undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. In late April, he also requested that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson review the current policies of immigration law enforcement to ensure that undocumented immigrants are being treated fairly.
“We’ve got this narrow window. The closer we get to the midterm elections, the harder it is to get things done around here,” Obama said during a White House meeting. “We’ve got maybe a window … of two, three months to get the ball rolling in the House of Representatives.”
Despite the efforts of the president, advocates of immigration reform are still rallying for an end to the deportation of non-criminal undocumented immigrants. Protesters gathered outside the Visalia, California, office of Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, delivering 684 white crosses on black Styrofoam blocks. Organizers of the protest said that each cross represented a person who died while trying to reunite with their families.
“We are acting on behalf of those people,” Diane Koletzke, a resident of Visalia, told The Fresno Bee. “People are dying trying to get back to their families.”
Nunes said that comprehensive immigration reform is an issue he supports, but unlike the president, believes securing American borders, a modified guest worker program for agriculture and better opportunities for highly skilled immigrants, instead of clearing a path for citizenship, should be the focus of the immigration reform debate.