Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, along with other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, met with President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday to discuss immigration policy. Over the course of the hour-plus meeting on national policy the President also talked with Sablan about the specific situation in the Northern Marianas.
"I did have the opportunity to explain to the President that there are gaps in the existing law. This is putting families at risk and threatens long-term residents, who were born in the Marianas or had permanent residence status under Commonwealth law," reported Congressman Sablan.
"The President was sympathetic; and he agreed to have his White House staff get involved and look more closely at the Marianas issue."
The meeting took place in the State Dining Room at the White House. In addition to the President, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Director of the Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, Special Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Muñoz, and other Senior Administration officials were on hand for the discussion.
"Anytime the President and his people are thinking about your issues, you are closer to resolving those issues," added Sablan. "I think that Tuesday's meeting was a step in the right direction.
"We need to resolve the uncertainties about immigration in the Marianas so that businesses can make investment decisions, families can get on with their lives, and the whole Commonwealth can start moving forward."
The President and the Hispanic Caucus primarily discussed the need for legislative action to reform national immigration policy. But the Caucus also asked the President to use all of the administrative tools at his disposal in a humane manner, particularly to protect families and children from what can otherwise be the harsh realities of immigration law.
Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX), Chairman of the CHC, issued a statement following the meeting. Gonzalez said, "The President and the CHC members agreed that they share the same goal of fixing the broken immigration system through legislative action, and that it is in the best interests of our nation's economic and security needs to do so at the earliest possible opportunity."