Impatience Mixed with Hope in the Spanish-Language Press

The leader of a national Latino political organization wasn't happy with the results of Thursday's immigration policy meeting at the White House between the president and congressional leaders.

"They have to move from statements and meetings to doing something concrete," Arturo Vargas, director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials told the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion, which is published in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina lamented that "we have a lot of Democrats who don't want to support a plan for amnesty, for necessary changes, and who just want to apply the current laws."

Georgia State Representative Pedro Marin told the newspaper that reform legislation expected to emerge later this year needs to be developed patiently in order to avoid a repetition of 2007's failed congressional effort. "This time we have to educate both Democrats and Republicans so they feel comfortable," he said. "And we have to make them understand that reform is necessary because of the economic power that immigrants represent."

Meanwhile, the Spanish-language television network Univision included an optimistic statement by Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL, who attended Thursday's meeting at the White House. Calling the meeting "very fruitful," Diaz-Balart said Obama hadn't previously understood "that we have made a lot of progress in the House, in informal discussions."

Obama adviser Cecilia Munoz, who pressed persistently for sweeping reform as a top official of the National Council of La Raza, outlined the route ahead. "We have to look for the votes, and we need a (legislative) proposal to look for the votes," she said. Noting that the legislative calendar is jammed for the summer, she added, "We hope that in the fall we'll begin with a legislative process."


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