WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, 04/19/11, President Barack Obama enlisted a number of elected officials and religious, business, labor and civil rights leaders to support his quest for a long-overdue reform of the US immigration laws. The President is again trying to keep his promise to enact a broad immigration reform. His failure to do so has angered many of those, who helped to elect him in 2008, and whose support he will need again next year.

The President promised to continue working to build consensus in Congress around immigration reform. But he also said he will not be able to succeed if he led the debate alone. "The president urged meeting participants to take a public and active role to lead a constructive and civil debate on the need to fix the broken immigration system," the White House said. "He stressed that in order to successfully tackle this issue they must bring the debate to communities around the country and involve many sectors of American society in insisting that Congress act to create a system that meets our nation's needs for the 21st century and that upholds America's history as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."

Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who helped attract Hispanic voters to support Obama in 2008, recently stated that he was not sure he could support Obama next year if the president did not act on immigration reform. Last week, 22 Senate Democrats also sent Obama a letter asking him to delay deportations of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents. The President has said repeatedly that he is committed to immigration reform, but he can not make headway without Republican support, because he does not have enough Democratic votes in the Senate, and Republicans now control the House.

The President again stated that the reform must require illegal immigrants to pay a penalty for being in the US illegally, pay back taxes, and learn English before they can qualify for legal status and eventual citizenship. Republicans oppose a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, calling this program an "amnesty."