The immigration bill is important because “it gets back to civil rights,” she said.
“We talked about women, we talked about people from the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community, we talked about people of different colors, and making sure that this is still a nation of laws and of immigrants, is extremely important to the health of our country,” she said.
Since 2000, the native-born population has grown by 16 million, the population of employed immigrants has grown by 5.3 million “and yet there are fewer Americans working now than in 2000,” said Krikorian. “How long do we have to wait?” he asked.
Advocates who support an immigration rewrite say it will increase the overall size of the nation’s population and economy, and boost revenue to the federal government. “It will make us stronger. … It will strengthen our economy … [and] that is good for our country,” said Jarrett.
The two Obama priorities are also connected by Obamacare regulations, which offer health-care subsidies to foreign guest-workers at U.S. companies. The Senate immigration bill would boost the resident population of blue-collar and professional-class guest workers to roughly 2 million.
Jarrett also reminded her listeners that the additional immigrants will get to vote in future elections.
“We need to make sure that people who came here illegally … have a path to citizenship,” she said, prompting applause from the audience of progressive activists.
Jarrett indicated that the White House would resume its pressure for passage of an immigration law once the August recess ends and GOP legislators fly from their constituents back into Washington, D.C.
“You will be hearing a lot more about immigration reform as we have continued to amp this up over the course of the second term, and we are confident that with everybody making it a priority, it will in fact pass, and we will sign it into law,” she said.
The White House will pressure the GOP’s leadership to schedule votes on immigration, she said.
“Immigration reform is a top priority for President Obama,” she said. “We were very heartened to see a comprehensive immigration bill voted out of the Senate and we will continue to put pressure on encouraging the House to understand how important it is for them to respond as well.”