Obama Offers Speech and Framework for Reform

President Barack Obama speaks on immigration

At a planned speech Tuesday, President Obama expressed his support for immigration reform.Obama said Washington was having a “bipartisan moment” in which both Democrats and Republicans are giving evidence that they may be ready to pass legislation for reform.

In yesterday’s post, we gave a link to a reform framework released by a group of eight senators. Now, in connection with his speech, Obama has released his own suggested framework for reform.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño, episcopal leader for the California-Pacific Annual Conference and chair of the United Methodist Interagency

Taskforce on Immigration, was invited by the president to be at the conference. After the speech, she said, “I was highly encouraged that he made it clear immigration reform is a priority …. I applaud the President’s leadership in addressing the broken immigration system…. The immigration problems we face as a nation are complex and difficult. President Obama’s clear commitment to provide leadership and full engagement in the legislative process toward immigration reform will be critical.”Both frameworks are comprehensive, and both feature both enforcement elements and the long-sought relief of a pathway to citizenship, reunification of families, and other features that address the concerns of immigrants. There are also differences, such as Obama’s plan to end backlogs in family-sponsored immigration, increase in personnel and improvements in immigration courts, and added protections for immigrants relative to labor rights. And the senators’ plan is an enforcement-first plan, but Obama’s is not.

Responses to the president’s speech abound. The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society released a statement, Church World Service released a statement, and Faith in Public Life released a compilation of statements by faith leaders on the speech.

Bishop Minerva Carcaño

In her statement, Bishop Carcaño said, “United Methodists have long been active in working with other faith leaders from across the country in mobilizing thousands of people through hundreds of public witness actions and meetings with members of Congress and their staffs. I look forward to working closely with President Obama and Congress to enact effective, just and compassionate reform.”

Additional resources of interest available online are a full transcript of Obama’s speech, an article about the speech by the United Methodist News Service, and a brief Op-Ed article in the New York Times. The articles are not heavy analysis, but give a little perspective.