It’s no secret that comprehensive immigration reform is seriously stalled in the U.S. House, but reform supporters are pinning their hopes on a meeting tonight with a key New York Republican.
Rep. Peter King is holding the roundtable discussion with members of the Long Island immigrant community and its supporters.
Karina Claudio, a lead organizer for Make the Road New York, expects a lot of the talk to be about strategy and ways reform supporters hope King can help kick-start fellow Republican House members into action.
“He can be a real hero,” she says. “He can definitely take the action to push the leadership in his party to get comprehensive immigration reform to happen this year. “
House Speaker John Boehner opposes the reform plan that was passed by the Senate last summer. Claudio says they are interested in hearing from King about ideas for moving the measure forward.
Shirley Aldebol, vice president of the service workers union 32BJ, says hundreds of thousands of undocumented people live in New York in fear of exploitation and deportation.
She says King can make the case to fellow Republicans that their inaction on reform is bad for business.
“A lot of new businesses are started by immigrants,” she stresses. “So, I mean, it’s just (that) communities would flourish in ways that are now being completely held back because we’re not moving on this.”
One option being talked about in Washington would be a discharge petition.
Claudio says they are open to many options, so long as they get action on the legislation this year.
“If we do have the votes in the Republican Party in the House, it makes sense. It will force the House to take a vote.”
The roundtable takes place tonight in Brentwood.
To listen to the broadcast, click here.