President Obama has stated that he expects to see an immigration reform bill introduced in Congress “very soon” after his inauguration in January. He was speaking at a press conference on Wednesday.
“I am very confident we can get immigration reform done,” Obama stated.
Obama revealed that discussions have already begun with key members of the Congress from both houses on how it can be accomplished. There are an estimated 50,000 Irish undocumented in the U.S.
“We need to seize the moment,” said Obama, stating that he is “already seeing signs” that several key Republicans are taking a new tack on the issue, among them House Speaker John Boehner and Senator John McCain.
Meanwhile, in a similar about face, a coalition of evangelical leaders is also urging President Obama to introduce a bipartisan immigration reform bill within the first three months of his second term.
ABC reports that more than 150 faith leaders sent an open letter to the President and heads of the Senate and House on Tuesday, urging them to support a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.
The open letter states “as evangelical leaders, we live every day with the reality that our immigration system doesn’t reflect our commitment to the values of human dignity, family unity and respect for the rule of law that define us as Americans.”
“Initiatives by both parties to advance common sense fixes to our immigration policies have stalled in years past.”
The group is calling for a bipartisan immigration solution that:
• Respects the God-given dignity of every person
• Protects the unity of the immediate family
• Respects the rule of law
• Guarantees secure national borders
• Ensures fairness to taxpayers
• Establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become a permanent resident
In concludes: “We urge you to reach across the aisle and work to create a bipartisan solution that reflects our values, creates just and humane immigration laws, and moves us forward together.”
They called on the intervention to take place within the specified time frame as 92 is how many times the Hebrew word for immigrant, “ger,” appears in the Bible.
Commenting on the open letter, Dr. Barrett Duke, Vice President for Public Policy and Research of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said,
“Immigration is not just a Hispanic issue, it’s an Asian issue, a European issue. It’s a Christian issue. It’s a moral issue. That’s why we’ve committed to educating other Christians about the reality of immigration. We don’t need to choose between American security and the dignity of immigrants who are already here.”