Obama, Hispanic Caucus Leaders to Meet Tuesday

Posted November 15, 2010 at 6:49pm

Updated: 11:23 p.m.

President Barack Obama will sit down with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Tuesday to discuss the next steps for advancing a comprehensive immigration overhaul and, in the short-term, the DREAM Act, a White House official said Monday night.

Obama is meeting with caucus chairwoman Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and two CHC members, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), at 2:45 p.m. in the Oval Office.

The administration is “committed to doing all that it can” to move an immigration overhaul through Congress, the official said. “Additionally, we welcome any opportunity for Congress to take up the DREAM Act.”

While the prospects for comprehensive action in the near-term are next to none, immigration reform advocates are gunning for a vote this year on the DREAM Act, which would give children who are illegal immigrants a path to citizenship if they go to college or join the military. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed in the final days of his re-election campaign to take up the measure in the lame-duck session, and advocates are holding him to his word.

The Nevada Democrat “owes his political life” to Hispanic voters who turned out for him because of his promises to follow through on the DREAM Act this year and an immigration overhaul as soon as possible, according to Ana Navarro, a Republican political strategist with expertise on Hispanic politics.

“He’s got a very specific and very immediate promise to deliver on,” Navarro said last week.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has signaled a willingness to take up the DREAM Act in the coming weeks, but Obama has yet to say whether it is one of his priorities for the lame duck.