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Posted on Feb 06, 01:39PM | IANS
By Arun Kumar, Washington, Feb 6 : President Barack has initiated a round of meetings with business and labour leaders as also immigration rights advocates including those representing South Asians to marshal their support for immigration reform.
"The President made clear his commitment to immigration reform," said Deepa Iyer, executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), who was among the invitees at Obama's meeting Tuesday with immigrant rights advocates.
"We intend to have a voice at the table when issues around immigration are addressed and will present holistic recommendations that impact our community," said Iyer, who represented SAALT and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) at the meeting.
SAALT that coordinates the work of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), a network of 41 South Asian community organizations has laid out a set of principles that in its view should guide immigration reform
SAALT said it has also submitted a statement to the House Judiciary Committee for an immigration hearing focused primarily on employment-based immigration and enforcement measures.
"While SAALT supports employment-based immigration for all workers, we believe in holistic reform that also focuses on family-based immigration as well as many other reforms," the South Asian organisation said.
"Additionally, we firmly advocate for the termination of profiling in immigration enforcement and the inclusion of due process and human rights standards for immigrants, including within the detention and deportation system," it said.
Meanwhile, business leaders at the White House meeting on immigration Tuesday were encouraged by the "general principles" for immigration reform that have emerged from the White House and Senate, Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein said.
"We're crazy if we don't take advantage of this great asset which is the draw of the American dream," he told CNN.
Obama also met Tuesday with more than a dozen labour leaders. They included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union, and Arturo Rodriguez of United Farm Workers.
A bipartisan group of senators as also Obama have advanced a set of immigration plans outlining a path to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented immigrants, including about 250,000 from India.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)