Progressive leaders concerned about border security trigger in immigration plan

Liz Goodwin
The Ticket

In a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House Tuesday morning, union and progressive leaders brought up their concerns about the border security portion of a Senate immigration reform proposal.

Eliseo Medina, the secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, said the group discussed a part of the bipartisan Senate blueprint for immigration reform that says the border must be declared secure by a panel of politicians before any of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country can apply for a green card.

"That could be utilized for saying [the border] will never be sufficiently under control," Medina said.

Other immigration advocates are also worried that the border security trigger, if adopted into law, could mean decades-long waits for citizenship for the nation's undocumented population.

Medina would not discuss specifics of the president's response to their concerns, but said Obama reiterated in the meeting that any immigration bill must have a "real" pathway to citizenship.

"I came away from the meeting feeling really good about where we are on immigration reform and the president's commitment to it," said Medina. "This really feels like our moment."

The president also plans to meet with with the CEOs of several companies to discuss immigration reform at 3:20 p.m.