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Home Community Civil Rights Marchers Hopeful of Passage of Immigration Reform Bill This Year
Marchers Hopeful of Passage of Immigration Reform Bill This Year PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - Civil Rights
Sunday, 28 March 2010 08:58

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Journal Group Link International)

 

Marchers Hopeful of Passage of Immigration Reform Bill This Year

 

C HICAGO (JGLi) – Although the more 200,000 marchers for immigration reforms were somewhat overshadowed Sunday (March 21) by the health care reform debate at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., they are hopeful that a bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress could put the long-sought sweeping immigration measure over the hump this year.

 

“This is also how we will achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform.  It takes courage, clarity of purpose, boldness of action, and using the people's voices and stories to describe the reality of our human needs and conditions,” according to Juanita Salvador-Burris, one of the organizers on board one of the hundreds of busloads from Chicago, Illinois, who joined the hundreds of thousands of marchers in Washington, D.C., last Sunday.

 

Perhaps, referring to the signing into law of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by President Barack Obama on Tuesday (March 23), Ms. Salvador Burris, an officer of the Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights & Empowerment (AFIRE), said the mammoth crowd in the nation’s capitol not only put pressure on members of Congress to give their attention to health care overhaul but also on the immigration-reform legislation. The law was signed by the Democratic Congress, without any vote from the Republicans.

 

The “physically challenging weekend trip to DC” that took us more than 16 hours to reach Washington from Chicago was all worth every mile and minute of it,” she said. “We spent a lot of energy marching, singing, chanting, carrying signs, banners and posters, as we covered the blocks towards the National Mall.

 

“Although, I felt very tired, Jerry Clarito (an AFIRE leader) did not show any sign of ever slowing down.”

 

Ms. Salvador-Burris said they were inspired by the trip thru the “courageous stories of thousands of community leaders who have navigated through our broken health care system.

 

“We got here because of community organizers who worked tirelessly to counter corporate interests to make sure reform happened.

 

“We got here because of people like you, who supported community organizing, by taking action with us all year round.”

 

Among the concrete accomplishments of the March for America was the success of Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) to obtain a meeting with Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele after staging a sit-in and rally in front of the RNC offices in Washington, D.C.

 

According to Jennifer M. Kons, program associate of Immigrant Family Resource Program of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), the activists from the FIRM are going to meet with Mr. Steele on March 31, 2010, “to press the Republican Party to join Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation in 2010.”

 

Manny Rosales, deputy director of the coalitions, said Steele “had agreed to meet with the activists about 20 minutes into the sit-in and rally” by members of the FIRM, which is part of the “more than 200,000 people, which yielded new commitments from the President and Congressional leadership to advance immigration reform legislation.”


The ICIRR statement said, “with Democratic leaders on record supporting reform, and a lone Republic lawmaker working to craft a bipartisan bill, the Republican Party must reject the obstructionist tactics that are alienating mainstream Americans and killing any hopes for a larger, more diverse party in the future.

 

"Immigration reform has always been a bipartisan issue, and we need today's Republican Party to show the same leadership as Bush and Reagan," Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told the activists rallying outside the RNC. "

 

If Republican politicians choose to play politics with the lives of immigrants and their families, Latino and immigrant voters will not forget who stood against reform in November.

 

“The March on Sunday and today's rally outside the RNC were a prelude to two weeks of in-district events during the spring recess.

 

"We are going back to our hometowns to continue organizing in all communities, to pressure both political parties to work together to create a fair and workable immigration system for America this year," said Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. "It may have been easy for Republicans to be against everything debated by Congress this past year, but they will have to work towards solutions on this issue."

 

T he op-ed by Washington Post from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), outlining their framework for comprehensive immigration reform published ahead of the March for America was praised by the White House for their leadership and pledged “to do everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus this year.”

 

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and Chair of the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign, said “The op-ed from Senators Schumer and Graham on their four-pillar framework for comprehensive immigration reform legislation is the first concrete step toward achieving comprehensive immigration reform in 2010.

 

“The op-ed laid out a broad bipartisan blueprint that ensures that undocumented immigrants can work towards citizenship, crack down on bad actor employers, and create a flexible legal immigration system so that future immigration is controlled and orderly. However, there are additional elements not mentioned in the op-ed that are absolutely essential to workable immigration reform like family unity, AgJOBS, and the DREAM Act. Reform Immigration FOR America looks forward to seeing the details of the proposal and partnering with Senators Schumer and Graham and other leaders to advance comprehensive legislation this spring that promotes and protects family unity, protects workers and helps with economic recovery, enhances our security, protects the rights of all, and creates millions of new taxpayers.

 

"A path to 60 votes in the U.S. Senate will require Republican and Democratic leadership.

 

Similarly, the White House’s affirmative statement on the Senators’ op-ed is a down payment on the President’s promise to put the full weight of the White House behind bipartisan reform legislation. We share the President’s sentiment – that this framework is a good first step – and we will be working with the Administration, and leaders from both parties to ensure that 2010 is the year that Congress finally fixes America’s long-broken immigration system." (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #

 

 © opyright 2009 The Journal Group Link International. The contents provided in the JGLi may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of the Journal Group Link International.

 

(Editor’s Note: Watch out for the upcoming outlet-oriented, subscription-based website of Journal Group Link International that guarantees originally sourced stories, features, photos, audios and videos and multi-media contents.)



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Last Updated on Sunday, 04 July 2010 19:34
 

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