Obama Promises Immigration Forum’

Posted March 18, 2009 at 1:23pm

During a meeting on Wednesday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, President Barack Obama was not specific on when he will actively pursue comprehensive immigration reform, but he did suggest he will begin examining the issue soon.

Hispanic lawmakers asked Obama during the session to proceed with legislation this year, but Obama was noncommittal. “He didn’t have a specific timeline,— acknowledged Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)

But Obama did promise to hold a “forum— on immigration as he has in past weeks on health care and fiscal discipline — sessions where he invited stakeholders and leading lawmakers to the White House for talks. Obama also will appoint a “working group— on immigration within the White House that will liaise with lawmakers in the issue, Menendez indicated. Menendez said he thought the forum would be held in the next two months.

Obama will travel to Mexico next month to meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon to discuss the battle against Mexican drug violence and comprehensive immigration reform. Obama announced the trip during the meeting with Hispanic lawmakers, according to a brief readout of the session provided by the White House.