Thousands of supporters are expected to dust off their marching boots and head to Washington, D.C. next month to rally for comprehensive immigration reform. Although some media headlines continue to challenge the political viability of immigration reform in 2010, there is clearly no shortage of grassroots support from a broad coalition of groups—groups who plan on busing in thousands of supporters to the nation’s capital to demand action. While it’s true that an immigration rally does not necessarily guarantee reform legislation, the campaign sponsoring the March 21st event—Reform Immigration for America—aptly asks the price of doing nothing at all.
We are faced with a choice. We can do nothing, and watch as our families and communities continue to be torn apart by the broken immigration system; watch as profiteers continue to take advantage of people desperate for work; watch as due process is taken away from our understanding of justice; and watch as our leaders work on economic solutions that simply aren’t bold enough to turn this country around. Or we can stand up for our families and our communities.
Not all have given up hope on reform this year. Rallies, forums and town hall meetings have and will continue to happen on the state and local level all across the nation. Over the weekend, more than 500 participants held an immigration town hall meeting in Los Angeles. Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Vice-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, made an appearance to rally the troops and support the movement:
Push comes to shove, I feel very confident we will pass immigration reform in the House of Representatives. But, and there’s away a big but, I can’t say the same for the Senate. Unless we fight and stand up, this won’t happen. We have to get to the point that we can pull crowds like these in other places in America. Then they will feel, they will see, we will do it. But we need your help.
At a recent immigration reform event in Illinois, advocates and union leaders called on Congressional leaders to fulfill their promise to fix our broken immigration system and pledged to send 10,000 Illinoisians to D.C. in March. As one activist, Emma Lozano of Centro Sin Fronteras’, put it, “It’s showdown time. We are united as never before. We will mobilize as never before.”
Advocates are growing frustrated as immigration queues up behind jobs, the economy and health care on the legislative agenda. However, on a visit to the White House this week, White House officials told Colombian pop star, Shakira, that “they hope to reach an agreement this year with the Republican Party to legalize undocumented immigrants.” Similarly, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) put the immigration reform ball in the Republican court this week at an event in Nevada.
While no one can, or will, quite say where actual immigration reform legislation is right now, one thing remains clear: there is significant grassroots support for immigration—supporters who are intent on making their voices heard both as a movement and as an electoral voting bloc—and they are asking, “if not now, when?”
Photo by rev_bri.