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Will White House Motion Lead to Progress on Immigration Reform?

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The Los Angeles Times had the story Thursday evening that the Obama administration – including the President himself – was beginning to stir on immigration reform:

Despite steep odds, the White House has discussed prospects for reviving a major overhaul of the nation's immigration laws, a commitment that President Obama has postponed once already.

Obama took up the issue privately with his staff Monday in a bid to advance a bill through Congress before lawmakers become too distracted by approaching midterm elections.

Friday, Suzanne Gamboa of the Associated Press advanced the story by confirming that the President would meet with the two key Senators crafting a bipartisan immigration bill that could be the Obama administration’s legislative vehicle:

White House spokesman Nicholas Shapiro said Obama will meet with Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Monday.

The president is "looking forward to hearing more about their efforts toward producing a bipartisan bill," Shapiro said Friday.

The meeting will be the first Obama has had with Schumer and Graham on the proposal they are developing since they began focusing on it last year.

The pressure has been growing on President Obama, who as a candidate made repeated specific promises to Latino voters that he would address the immigration issue in his first year in office. Videotape of him making those promises was turned into an ad by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) released this week reminding Latino voters in Spanish and English of the President’s words and urging them to hold him and the Democratic-controlled Congress accountable.

The Reform Immigration For America campaign is organizing the March for America for March 21 in Washington, DC and advocates – including advocates from the President’s hometown of Chicago – are ratcheting up the rhetoric and the pressure.

The meeting on Monday would appear to be a response to this mounting impatience.

We will see if anything concrete comes out of the President’s meeting with Senators Schumer and Graham and whether a timetable for reform emerges. It won’t call off the marchers, but if a clear plan for achieving reform is articulated, it may help channel the energy of the marchers into calling on the Congress to act rather than targeting the White House for inaction.