updated 4/19/2011 9:00:33 AM ET 2011-04-19T13:00:33

President Barack Obama has marshaled the likes of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the mayors of New York and San Antonio and Philadelphia's police commissioner in an attempt to show wide and varied support for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws.

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The invitees are among a bipartisan group expected to meet with Obama at the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss revamping the immigration system.

Besides Schwarzenegger, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, who also served as Washington, D.C., police chief, are among those invited.

In a statement issued late Monday, the White House said the president is holding the meeting to discuss the importance of fixing the nation's "broken immigration system" to meet the country's 21st century economic and national security needs.

The White House said business and religious leaders, as well as current and former public officials from across the political spectrum were to be invited. The statement was attributed to a White House senior official who was not further identified.

In a Monday afternoon interview with Dallas television station WFAA, Obama underscored the need for bilateral support to set new immigration policy.

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"The question is going to be, are we going to be able to find some Republicans who can partner with me and others to get this done once and for all instead of using it as a political football," he said.

Under some fire
Obama has been under fire from Latino and immigration activists and Spanish-language media for failing to take up immigration in his first term. He has been consistently reminded of his campaign promise to address immigration early in his administration.

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Although Obama has repeatedly said he is committed to immigration overhaul, the deportation of a record 393,000 immigrants last year and other enforcement tactics during his administration have drawn criticism in the immigrant and Hispanic communities.

Over the weekend, Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who helped rally Hispanic voters to support Obama during the 2008 campaign, told a Chicago crowd he was not sure he could back Obama in 2012 if the president did not step up immigration changes.

Last week, 22 Senate Democrats sent a letter to Obama asking him to delay deportations of young undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country by their parents.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Pressuring the White House on immigration

  1. Closed captioning of: Pressuring the White House on immigration

    >>> once a campaign promise for barack obama , immigration reform has become a political after thought after the white house put it on the back burner. legislation, the dream act , that would offer a pass to citizenship through college enrollment or military service was blocked last year. congressman luis gutierrez is leading a charge to get it back on the president's desk. he joins me now. great to see you. you said over the weekend you were considering not supporting the president's re-election effort if he does not re-engage on immigration policy . that's fighting words. do you mean it?

    >> here's what i did say and i mean, i want to support barack obama for re-election. i want to be able to go across this country and energize an immigrant community , a latino community so he's successful. but the lack of progress on immigration reform and the lack of action that barack obama , our president, has, the discretion he has is really making that job difficult for me. so when i look at a community of people that is undecided, i want to bring them to the decision table in favor of the president. but the president has to act to complete his promise. i don't think it is unusual and what i said was, you know what, i'm undecided. i want him to make me a decided voter for barack obama , by making the kinds of decisions that is going to bring his promises to fruition during his administration.

    >> congressman, you are from chicago, you represent a very, very important part of the democratic base. if you are undecided, isn't the president in trouble?

    >> no. i think what the president needs to do is focus on the kind of agenda that will allow this immigrant community , the latino community , as we face this civil rights , human rights struggle we're in now for comprehensive immigration reform . look, andrea , the president of the united states , i believe, is doing so many wonderful things to steer this country in the right direction. but when it comes, you and i both know that the first lady, the first lady goes out to maryland. what does a little girl ask her. why is the president want to deport my dad? when president barack obama goes on hispanic radio or tv, about education, housing, the economy, and always the question comes back on, andrea , to immigration. i want this president to be successful. he can be successful if he addresses the issue and takes the kind of discretion he has in his hands in order to alleviate the problems.

    >> i know you have a plane to catch and we have to run, but do you think he's taking the hispanic community for granted?

    >> i think the president of the united states has to shore up his support among the latino community and those who believe that immigration is an important issue. he still has a great opportunity to do that. i'm going tonight to detroit. yesterday in milwaukee, i'll be in charlotte this wednesday. look, andrea , thousands of people are coming to the event and they're coming to the event because they want this president. but when i say let's all support barack obama when he supports us, they all cheer. they're for him. he needs to seal this deal. he can take the kinds of actions that are necessary.

    >> luis gutierrez , safe travels. thank you for joining us today.


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