La Opinión (Los Angeles) publishes an article about the pressure President Obama and Congress are feeling to introduce immigration reform for debate, and the President’s search for a legislative opportunity to tackle the issue. The article details recent activities in the Oval Office and the Capitol in advance of March 21st’s demonstration in Washington. La Opinión quotes Luis Miranda, White House Director of Hispanic Media, reiterating Obama’s commitment to reform: “The President believes we should resolve the status of the 12 million people here in the country illegally, that they need to register, pay a fine for breaking the law and comply with other obligations that legal immigrants have to deal with, like paying taxes, or else they should leave the country.”
‘Qué Pasa’ in Immigration: White House Under Pressure, More Raids, Menendez on March 21 by Maribel Hastings on 03/05/10 at 12:59 pm
Advocates Ramp up Pressure, White House Renews Push for Major Immigration Overhaul by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 03/05/10 at 10:38 am
Today Peter Nicholas of the Los Angeles Times reports that, “Despite steep odds, the White House has discussed prospects for reviving a major overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, a commitment that President Obama has postponed once already.” News that the White House is preparing to push Congress to move forward on the overhaul is music to many ears. Of course, proof will need to come in the form of concrete progress.
According to Nicholas:
Obama took up the issue privately with his staff Monday in a bid to advance a bill through Congress before lawmakers become too distracted by approaching midterm elections.
In the session, Obama and members of his Domestic Policy Council outlined ways to resuscitate the effort in a White House meeting with two senators — Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — who have spent months trying to craft a bill.
According to a person familiar with the meeting, the White House may ask Schumer and Graham to at least produce a blueprint that could be turned into legislative language.
In a sharp Op-ed in the Washington Post today, ICIRR’s Joshua Hoyt lays out one major constituency at stake if the Obama administration fails to move real immigration reform forward this year: Latino voters. From “Obama risks alienating Latinos with lack of immigration reform:”
I have known Barack Obama since 1986, when we were both community organizers. I am still organizing on the streets of Chicago, and what I see in the Latino community makes me fear that the president is oblivious to the pain wrought by our broken immigration system. It could have a profound effect on the 2010 and 2012 elections.
It didn’t have to be this way. For a brief moment last year it appeared that Obama might realign the modern political map, cementing the Latino vote into the Democratic coalition by speaking plainly to the American people on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
Instead, he squandered a political gift handed to him by the Republican Party‘s nativist wing — and its anti-immigrant rhetoric — during the 2008 campaign. Candidate Obama promised to make immigration reform a priority during his first year in office, and the Latino vote surged to 10 million, from 7.8 million in 2004, and swung eight percentage points toward the Democrats.
Hoyt reminds readers that, “In its first year, the Obama administration was on track to deport some 400,000 immigrants — far more than during George W. Bush‘s last year in office. On the anniversary of Obama’s inauguration, Hoy, the Spanish-language newspaper in Chicago, ran a full-page picture of the president on its cover under the headline “Promesa Por Cumplir” (“Unkept Promise”). The sense of betrayal among Latinos — especially immigrants — is palpable, just as it was after Obama’s 2006 vote on the border fence.”
One More Reason to March: Immigrant Detention by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 03/04/10 at 5:58 pm
As we gear up for the March for America in D.C. on March 21, it’s important to remind ourselves what we are marching to Washington for.
An editorial in the New York Times Tuesday argued:
The country needs to confront the [immigration] issue, to lift the fear that pervades immigrant communities, to better harness the energy of immigrant workers, to protect American workers from off-the-books competition. What’s been happening as the endless wait for reform drags on has been ugly.
Today, it got a little bit uglier. According to the New York Times:
When the Obama administration vowed to overhaul immigration detention last year, its promise of more humane treatment and accountability was spurred in part by the harrowing treatment of two detainees who died in the Bush years.
In one case, captured by security cameras in 2008, a Chinese computer engineer was dragged from a Rhode Island immigration jail and mocked by guards as he screamed in pain from undiagnosed cancer and a broken spine. In the other, a Salvadoran detainee held for two years in a California detention center was denied a biopsy for a painful penile lesion, though government doctors suspected the cancer that eventually required amputation of his penis.
But on Wednesday, the administration argued in federal court that the government had no liability for neglect or abuse by private contractors running the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I., where the computer engineer was held.
We must continue to demand accountability in our sprawling immigrant detention system. In addition, we must work to pass real immigration reform that creates an ordered, legal process for undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows, register, and obtain the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans. Right now, there are millions of workers and families for whom that process does not exist, and so we continue to face a crisis in which employers can arbitrarily exploit workers, families can be separated without notice, and an increasing number of men and women are sent to languish in these unaccountable detention facilities.
If that’s not a reason to hit the streets, I don’t know what is.
Captain Kirk Williamson listened to the students, and commented:
“I think it’s We Have the Freedom to Speak Out”
Why march now, for immigration reform?
Today, reason #101: because people should not be dying gruesome deaths because our immigration laws are broken.
As we gear up for the March for America in Washington on March 21, it’s important to remind ourselves what we are fighting for. , a number of other immigration reform supporters are voicing their opinion, that our current, broken immigration system needs a good fixin’. In an editorial to the New York Times today:
The country needs to confront the issue, to lift the fear that pervades immigrant communities, to better harness the energy of immigrant workers, to protect American workers from off-the-books competition. What’s been happening as the endless wait for reform drags on has been ugly.
Conventional wisdom in DC insists that immigration reform is dead, though we know differently. The challenges of twelve million undocumented persons – a significant portion of the population – cannot go ignored, and immigration champions in Congress are daily doing their part to help President Obama keep his promise on immigration reform, which also means helping the President keep his promise to create jobs for all Americans and boost the economy. Here’s an argument for reform from David Gushee, a university professor at Mercer University:
Moving millions of workers out of the shadows and into the light would end this black-market economy. It would restore fairness to this part of the labor market and would also increase tax revenues. To the extent that these immigrant workers would gain health insurance, it would also reduce the financial pressure on hospitals and emergency rooms that now provide unreimbursed care in emergency situations. It would also lead to currently illegal immigrants paying for other social services that they now receive at the expense of legal taxpayers.
As Americans lose their jobs in this frighteningly frail economy, deporting immigrants and their families, which costs approximately ______ a year, is not only extraordinarily harmful to the economic health of our country, but also incredibly “un-American,” as Nancy Pelosi so cleverly put it.
How can it not be? T it was reported that Charles Washington, an American citizen, will soon lose his Australian wife, Tracy, and her two children. The reason? Her 13 year old son jokingly punched another boy and stole 46 cents.
Talk about the punishment not fitting the crime…the
San Francisco Chronicle reports on the difficulty Mr. Washington faces trying to keep his family together:
Washington said he can’t move to Australia because he would lose contact with his daughter, whose custody he shares with her mother. He said the situation is particularly hard on his 5-year-old stepson – “I’m the only one he’s known as dad” – and he hopes to visit them in Australia.
So this year, for the millions in this country who consider America their home, many of whom live with the threat of losing their loved ones every day, join us in standing up for keeping families together and march for immigration reform.
Weekly Diaspora: Rallying the Grassroots by Guest Blogger on 03/04/10 at 2:26 pm
This post is a weekly feature by Erin Rosa, Media Consortium Blogger:
Fed up with Congress and frustrated with President Barack Obama’s brief mention of immigration reform in the State of the Union address, immigrant rights supporters are now organizing around the clock to push legislators to move on reform in 2010. It will not be an easy feat.
Congress is already bogged down with health care reform and a lingering economic crisis. While Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) has proposed a bill in the House of Representatives to provide a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, immigration reform could be doomed for 2010 if it’s not introduced in the Senate by this Spring. Otherwise, it’s very unlikely that Congress will get around to debating the issue by the end of the year.
Aware of these bitter facts—and even more cognizant of the human rights abuses that will continue so long as the status quo is maintained—reform proponents are gearing up for a number of key battles to improve the immigration system.
Born from dissatisfaction with Congress and Obama’s inability to deliver reform, organizers from around the country are preparing to march on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. On March 21, the first day of Spring. The objective is to draw tens of thousands of immigrant rights supporters to Capitol Hill. As New America Media reports, March for America “will be a test of immigrant advocates’ organizing capacity and their increasing use of technology to stoke a popular groundswell on immigration.”
The march, which is organized by the Reform Immigration For America coalition, will also “bring together advocates focused on different parts of the immigration policy agenda,” including supporters of agricultural labor, better immigrant detention standards, and the DREAM Act, federal legislation that provide a pathway to citizenship for certain immigrants who entered the United States before the age of 16.
‘Qué Pasa’ in Immigration: Wal-Mart Boycott; Forgotten Promises; Reform and Licenses in CA by Maribel Hastings on 03/04/10 at 11:44 am
EFE issues a dispatch from Atlanta, where the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) is heading a boycott of Wal-Mart, due to start on March 20th, to ask the company to take a stand in support of immigration reform. “The point of this initiative is to call attention to Wal-Mart, who, with its large quantity of Latino customers, has a moral obligation to support reform,” a GLAHR representative said.
AOL Latino, Hoy (Dallas) and El Mirador Paraguayo have reprinted Maribel Hastings’ blog post, “NCLR refreshes Obama’s memory.” The article by Hastings, of America’s Voice, describes a video released by the National Council for La Raza (NCLR) showing President Barack Obama reaffirming his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform in 2008: “I marched with you in the streets of Chicago, I fought for you in the Senate, and I will make it a top priority in my first year as president of the United States of America.” But the video adds, “Sometimes we all get so busy…we forget the promises we’ve made.”
WATCH: Top Latino Group, NCLR, Reminds Obama of His Immigration Reform Promise by Jacquelyn Mahendra on 03/03/10 at 3:10 pm
…and at the heart of it is reminding President Obama about all those promises he made in order to earn the Latino vote, especially his promises on immigration reform.
See for yourself:
John Aravosis at America Blog calls it a “hard-hitting video taking Obama to task for broken promises on immigration.”