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STATEMENT: CAP Expert Angela M. Kelley on White House Meetings on Immigration Reform

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Contact: Madeline Meth
Phone: 202.741.6277
Email: mmeth@americanprogress.org

The following is a statement from Angela M. Kelley, VP for Immigration Policy and Advocacy at American Progress

"This week President Barack Obama showed he has not forgotten his promise to the American people to enact a law that will protect our borders; include a tough, fair, and practical legalization program for workers and families; and strengthen our weak economy.

The president is now reviewing the outline of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that was presented to him by lead Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during a White House meeting on Thursday. At a separate session President Obama heard from faith, labor, and other community leaders who underscored the problems with the current immigration system that will only worsen until comprehensive reforms are signed into law.

Though the president and Sens. Schumer and Graham all committed to building support for immigration legislation, some of the statements following the White House meetings unfortunately suggested that forward movement on immigration could get entangled in the ongoing debate over health care reform. Immigration reform, however, deserves separate consideration and should be divorced from the politics of other policy debates. The American public is frustrated by our broken immigration system and a lasting solution that serves America’s interests and upholds our values is within reach.

Comprehensive immigration reform will deliver big economic benefits. It will help improve the wages of all workers, level the playing field for honest employers, and add a cumulative $1.5 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years. At the same time it will require immigrants without status to register and pay taxes, providing a needed boost to our tax rolls.

We hope that the productive tone of the meetings inside the White House can carry over to the halls of Congress, and that talk about comprehensive immigration reform can be turned into action. It is time for leaders to step forward and begin moving this important legislation through Congress.

Comprehensive immigration reform presents an opportunity for all sides to come together to fix a broken system and respond to the concerns of the American public."

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or lbartolomeo@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, TalkPoverty.org, faith)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Print: Elise Shulman (oceans)
202.796.9705 or eshulman@americanprogress.org

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or bstrong@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or jmolina@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org