The Congressional Hispanic Caucus will meet with President Barack Obama later this month, and a leader of the group said he’ll urge Obama to issue work permits to let millions of undocumented immigrants stay in the U.S
“This is a moment for the president to stand up and say ‘the country believes we should reform our immigration system,’” Representative Luis Gutierrez said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.
Gutierrez, immigration chairman for the 27-member Hispanic caucus,
said members plan to meet with Obama the week of July 21 to discuss immigration laws. With prospects for a comprehensive measure stalled, Congress is now considering the president’s $3.7 billion spending proposal to cope with an influx of thousands of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Gutierrez said Obama told him in March that if the Republican-led House didn’t act on immigration legislation, he should return to the White House in July to discuss what the president could accomplish instead through executive orders.
He said Obama should begin granting work permits to the millions of undocumented immigrants
who would have had a chance to seek legal status under a bill the Democratic-controlled Senate passed last year.
“I think he can begin to do it and I think he can reach that goal,” Gutierrez said. “I hope the president says, ‘This is the beginning.’”
Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, said he opposed a drive in Congress to reduce the legal rights of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border from Central America.