WASHINGTON — As President Barack Obama called on the House to pass immigration reform, some Oklahoma business owners and prominent Republicans announced Thursday that they're heading to Capitol Hill next week to press the same message with lawmakers.
In remarks at the White House, the president said the Senate had already passed a bipartisan bill that includes a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally. It's now up to House Republicans, he said, “to decide whether reform becomes a reality or not.”
The president said he was open to new ideas if House Republicans have them.
“But what we can't do is just sweep the problem under the rug one more time, leave it for somebody else to solve sometime in the future,” the president said.
Business groups and evangelical leaders have been making a major push for immigration reform, and one major group has been active in Oklahoma recently.
The Partnership for a New American Economy, launched by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and media mogul Rupert Murdoch to promote immigration reform, sponsored a poll in Oklahoma last month that showed 80 percent of those surveyed would support the kind of measures contained in the Senate bill.
And the partnership is organizing a visit for some Oklahoma business owners as part of an event sponsored by a number of groups here next week that will bring people from all over the country to talk to House members.
Among those scheduled to attend are owners of Oklahoma restaurants, construction companies and a clothing plant.