Undocumented immigrants picketed the White House on Monday, urging advocacy groups to refuse meetings with President Barack Obama until he includes them in the talks.
"We are among the millions of people who will either benefit or be harmed by the decisions the president makes, and we are here to represent ourselves in any future negotiations," said one protest organizer, Rosi Carrasco, the Washington Times
"No more meetings about us, without us," the protesters chanted at the rally near Lafayette Park.
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The picket was organized by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, which is worried that Obama is trying to lower expectations for what he can do – and that advocacy groups will be too accommodating, Politico
The immigrants' picket line went up after protesters made unscheduled visits to the Center for American Progress, National Immigration Forum and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Politico reports.
Though advocacy groups want to maintain momentum on the immigration issue – and halt deportations – Obama has come under increasing pressure to deal with a surge of migrant children
crossing into the United States illegally through the southern border.
"We have one shot to convince him to do the right thing," a letter sent to the advocacy groups' offices said, Politico reports.
"And we must unite to defend the decision if and when he does. It is clear that the people best qualified to make the case to the president are those immigrants who are harmed by status quo and who stand to be benefited by administrative relief."
Politico reports that White House spokesman Shawn Turner didn't respond to the demand, saying the president and his senior staff "meet regularly with immigration advocates and supporters to discuss the immigration issue."
"The president and vice president met Friday with the leaders of the three Central American countries from which most of the migrant children are coming, and he continues to encourage Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill," Turner said.
Representatives of the Center for American Progress and the National Immigration Forum were sympathetic but non-committal.
"Like our work around [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] and other immigration policy issues, we strongly encourage the president (and other electeds) to meet with members of the impacted community," Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said in an email to Politico.
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