President Barack Obama was scheduled to meet with Senators Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham on Monday.
During a press gaggle aboard Air Force One, Bill Burton, the deputy White House press secretary, said the purpose of the meeting was to get an “update”:
It’s as simple as getting an update from them on efforts to create bipartisan immigration legislation.
The now-canceled meeting would have come on the heels of congressional visits by Latino leaders and activists.
Immigration reform is a top priority for Latino leaders who unfailingly remind Obama he received 67 percent of their vote.
Latinos are looking for more than an update. Clarissa Martínez De Castro, director of Immigration and National Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza, writes:
But let’s be clear. If the meeting is just to “hear more,” it’s not going to cut it. ...
With the Congressional legislative runway getting crowded and time running out before the November elections, it is time to land this plane. Monday’s meeting must be followed by a clear, bipartisan proposal and a firm timeline for Senate action. Anything less will be regarded as more stalling by the tens of thousands coming to DC to march in two weeks.
Black leaders must remind him that he promised minority entrepreneurs that “help is on the way”:
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports:
Don’t wait. People have to continue to innovate, look for new customers, try to find creative ways to turn crisis into opportunity, retool for the future. But I want them to know that help is on the way.
Most states, if not all the states, have provisions in place to ensure minority, women and small businesses participation. We expect states to abide by their local rules. Obviously, federal rules are going to pertain as well when it comes to, for example, making federal buildings more energy efficient. Should that be part of the package, we’re going to be very clear about making sure that goals are set that ensure participation of every type of business imaginable.
Hispanic and black businesses are receiving a disproportionately small number of federal stimulus contracts, creating a rising chorus of demands for the Obama administration to be more inclusive and more closely track who receives government-financed work.
Latinos and blacks have faced obstacles to winning government contracts long before the stimulus. They own 6.8 and 5.2 percent of all businesses, respectively, according to census figures. Yet Latino-owned business have received only 1.7 percent of $46 billion in federal stimulus contracts recorded in U.S. government data, and black-owned businesses have received just 1.1 percent.