After the launch of the national immigration campaign, Reform Immigration FOR America, earlier this week, immigrants, labor unions, business, religious groups, and civil rights organizations continued full steam ahead today at the national immigration Campaign Summit in Washington, D.C., to push Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.
According to Summit organizers, the newly re-energized groups managed to send more than 100,000 faxes calling for comprehensive reform to Congress in the last 48 hours—in addition to a full day of lobby visits on Capitol Hill. The campaign, said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, is an effort to help support President Obama and ensure that his promises of comprehensive immigration reform becomes legislative reality.
The reality is that the President wants immigration reform, the American people want immigration reform, and we are launching the Reform Immigration for America campaign to make it happen.
With more than 800 people in attendance, the Summit provided pro-immigrant groups with three days of lobby visits, workshops, strategy sessions and a national town hall on immigration reform. The Summit events drew support from key congressional leaders, such as Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who summed up the urgent need for immigration reform at the town hall meeting:
Immigrants serving in the military can’t wait. Their contributions to America are undeniable. [Nor can] immigrants serving in the US armed services, the immigrants who have died in Iraq, never having the opportunity to become citizens. The immigrants who pick the food we put on our tables every day, care for our parents and grandparents when they can no longer care for themselves. They fill the jobs in hotels and meat-packing plants that keep our economy from collapse. They deserve the opportunity to work legally.
While some speculate as to when immigration reform will happen, no one can deny that the immigration reform movement is picking up speed. Yesterday, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters that he wants immigration reform this year—calling for a comprehensive immigration package rather than passing a “piecemeal” solution.
As far as I’m concerned, we have three major issues we have to do this year, if at all possible: No. 1 is healthcare; No 2 is energy, global warming; No. 3 is immigration reform [Immigration Reform] is going to happen this session, but I want it this year, if at all possible.
For many immigration advocates, such as Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, comprehensive reform is now just a matter of time:
Everyone from Rahm Emanuel to Alan Greenspan to the Police Foundation have come out in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The labor movement and the immigrant rights movement are united. Opposition to reform is increasingly the lonely province of a small but vocal and powerful group of extremists whose messages becomes more and more hateful by the day.
Hundreds of immigration advocates will head home today armed with new lobbying, media and messaging skills to activate their local communities in the fight for the immigration reform. All eyes are now on President Obama and congressional leaders for signs of legislative movement to come out of rescheduled June 17th White House meeting to discuss the immigration issue.
FILED UNDER: undocumented immigration, Video