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Obama talks immigration with religious leaders

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Several prominent preachers and a diverse group of religious organizations met with President Obama and senior staff Friday morning to discuss immigration reform, even as bipartisan efforts to produce a bill continue on Capitol Hill.

Leaders of the groups, which included the National Association of Evangelicals, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the Islamic Society of America, expressed their concerns over the impact of the nation’s beleaguered immigration system is having on families throughout their organizations, according to a White House readout of the meeting.

In turn, Mr. Obama thanked the leaders for their support and stressed his commitment that any overhaul of the laws must include a pathway to citizenship for those illegal immigrants already living in the country, as well as measures to crack down on businesses who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

The president also discussed efforts to strengthen the nation’s border security, and said a bipartisan group in the Senate is making “good progress” on proposing changes to the law.

“The president and the leaders agreed that the diversity of faith communities represented around the table was indicative of the growing consensus across American in support of fixing the broken immigration system,” the White House said afterward.

Other groups represented at the meeting included: the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Sojourners and the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

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Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at

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