Sources: Congressional Hispanic Caucus members urged Obama not to unveil immigration bill
January 28th, 2013
02:21 PM ET
1 year ago

Sources: Congressional Hispanic Caucus members urged Obama not to unveil immigration bill

Washington (CNN) – Some senior Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus used a private White House meeting Friday to urge President Obama not to unveil his own immigration legislation, for fear of blowing up delicate bipartisan talks, Democratic sources tell CNN.

This is significant for several reasons.

First, because the White House has been telling senators and advocates that they are writing their own immigration bill, in legislative language. It is incredibly rare for the White House to write its own bill.

Second – Democrats urging the president not to release a bill illustrates how polarizing the immigration issue remains – especially for Republicans who fear that signing onto any legislation that could be seen as authored by the president could invite primary challenges for Republicans.

"It's a tricky thing. We want him to lead, but Republicans are in a difficult position," said a Democratic source familiar with Friday's meeting.

Sources familiar with the bipartisan Senate framework announced Monday tell CNN one of the main reasons they chose to unveil their framework one day before the president's planned Tuesday speech on the subject, was to start the national dialogue on their bipartisan terrain. Politically, CNN is told the senators felt it was crucial for it to be known that there has been a real bipartisan process ongoing that is independent from the president.

In fact, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, did not call the president to inform him of Monday's announcement until Sunday.

In terms of substance, sources familiar with the both proposals, say the bipartisan Senate framework includes a border security trigger that the President's plan does not include; specifically, the path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants would not open up until a council of border officials verifies that the border is secure.

Advocates of a bipartisan approach – the only kind of immigration bill that could pass – tell CNN they are still concerned that the White House will unveil its bill.

"It would be a sabotage of the process," said one immigration reform advocate familiar with internal discussions but not able to speak freely on the record.

"Everybody is fine with him announcing principles, using bully pulpit, etc. But what nobody who actually wants to see this passed wants, is an 'Obama White House' branded bill getting introduced," said the source.

Immigration reform activists like Frank Sharry are thrilled the White House and the Senate are rushing to unveil their proposals.

"A Senate bipartisan process rushing to get out there early? The President flying to Las Vegas to make a speech in which he throws down on immigration reform? This makes Senate floor action this spring a certainty. Game on in terms of momentum," said Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "

Democratic sources tell CNN at the very least, the president has his own bill as an insurance policy -and a signal to wary advocates of immigration reform that this term he will keep his promise to act on the issue.

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum – a Coalition of immigration reform advocates – added that "if the Senate gets stuck, the White House has a bill in its back pocket they can put on the table as a trump card."

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. DENNA

    Here's a thought Republicans: Why don't you forget about politics and do what is right for a change. Why does the immigration bill have to be a dog and pony show? Why? It is the right thing to do so just do it. The political fallout may not be as bad as you think. The reelection of Barack Obama is proof.

    January 28, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  2. 'All must be on the Table'

    The White House both Parties in Congress must put their cards on the Table and be candid with the American-People..if anything will move "Forward"

    January 28, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. sonny chapman

    My God, the political gamesmanship! This ought to be as easy as cracking eggs.

    January 28, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. realitybite

    Well said Denna! GOP should learn to love the country over loving their jobs. Do the right thing for the people! This applies to the DEMs too, though, since they are in power, it's the GOP that's causing the gridlock.

    January 28, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. freedom

    Flying to Las Vegas to pitch another idea – this time, Americans aren't being murdered at the same time – "What difference does it make?"

    January 28, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. JustAO

    ..especially for Republicans who fear that signing onto any legislation that could be seen as authored by the president could invite primary challenges for Republicans...

    If GOP doesn't mind purging it's way into legislative oblivion by excluding hispanics and other people of color during primary elections, then by all means, let's not stop them. Our country will be better off by making sure that those that want to exclude people from our democracy can no longer represent our government and write laws governing citizens lives.

    January 28, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. john

    What is right is to kick them out so us who are born here legally can get jobs and not have to keep raising our taxes for everyone who enters here illegally. This will be the same thing in another few year etc etc. Even us Mexicans who are born here don't want illegal immigration but this socialist white house will push whatever they feel like on us.

    January 28, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Asking for serious trouble there. Obama has to stop acting like he runs ALL of the branches of government, or he leaves NO DOUBT of his inclination towards dictatorship.

    January 28, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Hum,
    Well it is a great litle story. Now watch it dissappear into the sunset faster than you can say Lickety Split. The American peolle have rejected anything that looks like, sounds like, is Amnesty. For all practical purposes this plan sounds like the plan already in place. Law, that is.

    January 28, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  10. michael

    WHAT STUPIDITY! Neocon repuglicans cry for President Obama to lead, but not on the issue of immigration! Democrats should not let repuglicans lead on this issue, because it will come back to haunt them! Repuglicans have been playing political football with immigration for 4 years, with incendiary, discriminating rhetoric, hyperbole insensitive comments and down right nasty tone towards the Hispanic population! Now, they have a coming to Jesus moment, have repented and are ready to make things right for those living in the shadows because "THEY LOST THE LAST 2 ELECTIONS" WHAT A MOTIVATOR! Repuglicans only care about, money, corporations, the rich, businesses, and the status quo! DO NOT TRUST THESE CON ARTISTS!

    January 28, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    john

    What is right is to kick them out so us who are born here legally can get jobs and not have to keep raising our taxes for everyone who enters here illegally. This will be the same thing in another few year etc etc. Even us Mexicans who are born here don't want illegal immigration but this socialist white house will push whatever they feel like on us.
    -------------
    The false arguments presented here are so obvious, that only a right wing media drone would fall for them. First of all, it was Republican policy changes at the IRS under both Bushes that enabled and encouraged the floodgates of immigrants from south of the border. The pro-business party saw a source of cheap labor, one which could break the backs of unions.

    I defies credibility that someone born in the United States would refer to themselves as "us Mexicans who are born here." IF you were born in the United States, then you are not a Mexican. Furthermore, if you really are a Mexican, then you are the first one that I have never come across named "John", instead of "Juan."

    January 28, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. GuestAgain

    I see by the comments that liberal, racist, hatred is still alive and well! ...and completely acceptable! The left would ban immigration if it were 11 million white, northern europeans that cut the line and broke the law.

    January 28, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I think it's pathetic that we live in a time when people are still trying to figure out what to do with other human beings. This is nothing to be proud of, it's another sad history of America and reminds me of the sufforage of Jews and African Americans.

    January 28, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. Dave Allison

    the trolls arrived at 2:50 and will probably continue to whine and cry about anything and everything President Obama does or says. The election is over. Obama won. The radical right wing republicans need to just live with it.

    January 28, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Yonni

    What a corrupted bunch of people couldn't bring themselves to work for our common good. Rather, they wanted the credit even before they are doing the actual work. Sure 9% is a worthy approval rating for our congress considering they have friends and family.They did’t look good at all. They are shining the light on themselves to show us how ugly they can be. Good for our president he stood as a giant among bunch of political dwarfs.

    January 28, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Elizabeth

    The President deserves to lay out his agenda on immigration. After all, the President put his presidency on the line when he campaigned and debated the issue during the 2012 campaign. He has more right to lay out his agenda than anyone in congress does.

    January 28, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "Asking for serious trouble there. Obama has to stop acting like he runs ALL of the branches of government, or he leaves NO DOUBT of his inclination towards dictatorship."

    Proposing a certain policy by presenting a clearly written, comprehensive proposed piece of legislation, which is clearly intended to simply be a cogent statement of the POTUS' position and what he believes should be done, is not an attempt...not in any way shape or form...to "run all branches of the government" and in no way indicates a desire to "dictate." It's precisely the kind of "leadership" initiative that the GOP/Teatrolls like to claim that Obama isn't showing, but then, when he does, you spew this nonsense about "dicatorship." Attempting to have your cake and eat it too, such that Obama is criticized for doing nothing and then criticized for doing anything, is one of the biggest reasons the GOP/Teatrolls have lost almost all credibility on all of these issues and is perceived as unreasonably and irrationally recalcitrant.

    January 28, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Name lynn

    Hispanic an obama is friends, an the people dont like it. Leave them hispanic alone

    January 28, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. ghostriter

    Second – Democrats urging the president not to release a bill illustrates how polarizing the immigration issue remains – especially for Republicans who fear that signing onto any legislation that could be seen as authored by the president could invite primary challenges for Republicans.

    So to republicans, to agree with the president, even if he agrees to conservative ideas, is wrong.

    January 28, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |