At least one key lawmaker is peeved with President Barack Obama’s announcement Monday that comprehensive immigration reform will have to wait until 2010.
It is “a serious disappointment— that Obama doesn’t foresee a resolution by the end of the year, said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force.
“Every day that passes without comprehensive immigration reform means another U.S. citizen child is separated from her mother, and another husband is torn from his wife,— Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez has been leading the charge on immigration reform in the House. Earlier this year, he spent weeks touring the country holding meetings and prayer vigils aimed at documenting the testimonies of citizens whose families have been hurt by the current immigration system.
Gutierrez was also one of several Illinois Democrats to send a letter to Obama this month urging him to advance the reform this year. The letter calls for moving forward with humane reforms, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
But Obama conceded Monday that a crowded agenda is forcing him to punt immigration reform until next year. The president said he expects lawmakers in both chambers to unveil draft legislation later this year and collect co-sponsors.
Despite Obama’s plan to postpone the issue, Gutierrez credited him with committing to a set timeline. “The American people want this done, and the political will exists to do it,— he said.