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Obama Gets the Immigration Reform Ball Rolling; Anti-Immigration Groups Fight Back « The Washington Independent

Pro-immigration reform advocates may be applauding President Obama’s immigration meetings at the White House today, but anti-immigration groups are pushing back hard.

Immigration reform has been on the back burner of the Obama administration’s agenda because of the recession and health care, but now it seems to be gaining momentum — particularly with today’s two White House meetings on immigration and the scheduled March 21 immigration reform rally in Washington. Now several anti-immigration groups have unveiled new campaigns and strategies to obstruct the “amnesty” plans.

“ALIPAC is releasing a three pronged strategy today designed to defeat the current push by President Obama, and Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) to give Amnesty to over ten million illegal immigrants in American thus turning them into competitive workers and voters,” Americans for Legal Immigration, an anti-illegal immigration PAC, wrote in a press release. And as a “counter measure” to the immigration rally, ALIPAC announced yesterday it would help organize protests, led by Tea Party Against Amnesty, on April 15 to coincide with other Tea Party rallies across the country. According to the Against Amnesty Website, the anti-immigration protests currently have supporters.

To counter the March 21 rally in D.C., the anti-immigration group NumbersUSA held a conference call Monday on suggestions for talking points when calling their lawmakers. Callers suggested that Mexican women are the “new welfare queens” and asserted, “They have dependents. We have babies.”

But certain agendas get even more bizarre and accusatory: The conservative Whistleblower magazine, in its March issue, includes a story about how Obama might be “stealing” the 2012 election by using amnesty for illegal immigrants as a way to maintain power.

The president has also come under attack from pro-immigration groups and activists because nothing’s been done yet.

“What’s been missing,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigration reform organization, “is a clear and public commitment from the president to use his political capital to advance reform this year as promised.”

Early this afternoon, Obama met with fourteen representatives at the White House at from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the Catholic Church, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union and the National Immigration Forum, among others, according to Politico. He assured them he was dedicated to passing comprehensive immigration reform, thought it was unclear when that would happen.

At 3 p.m., Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) met with the president to discuss what they hope will be a bipartisan immigration reform bill. Obama will also discuss immigration when he meets with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus tonight.

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