Obama meets with black leaders on unemployment, Hispanic leaders on amnesty (+Graham, Schumer)
[At a White House meeting earlier today] African-American members of Congress said they told the president that job creation is critical to their communities and that federal resources should be directed toward workforce training, specifically for infrastructure projects.
Unemployment among black Americans was 15.8 percent in February, compared to the overall jobless rate of 9.7 percent nationally.
"We talked about the desperation that we're feeling in our communities throughout the country," Democratic Representative Barbara Lee, head of the Congressional Black Caucus, said on the White House driveway with a phalanx of other lawmakers beside her...
[At a different meeting also earlier today,] Obama spent an hour meeting with officials from immigration advocacy groups who pressed him on an issue that did not feature highly in the president's first year, which was dominated by fixing the economy and healthcare.
"We leave the meeting today feeling hopeful," said Clarissa Martinez de Castro of the National Council of La Raza. "The president took an hour of his time to have a conversation, not to give a speech and that is significant."
She said that "there were commitments made about truly seeing this issue moving forward and the White House getting engaged to help in that process."
Although details of their blueprint were not released, Graham said the elements included tougher border security, a program to admit temporary immigrant workers and a biometric Social Security card that would prevent people here illegally from getting jobs.
Graham also said the proposal included "a rational plan to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States." He did not elaborate on what the plan would be. But in a recent interview, he suggested that onerous measures were unrealistic.
"We're not going to mass-deport people and put them in jail, nor should we," Graham said. "But we need a system so they don't get an advantage over others for citizenship."