There’s a big job waiting for community based organizations after Congress acts to legalize undocumented immigrants. Columnist Erwin de Leon says they better be ready.
Tag: immigrant advocates
President Barack Obama has now made official something that had looked more and more likely ever since he took office: that, because he has too much to deal with, immigration reform won’t happen this year. For pro-immigration and Hispanic advocates, this is a clear backtracking on the president’s campaign promise and, while some try to keep a hopeful outlook, others are starting to use the “B” word: betrayal.
“This is a reversal of his campaign promise to pass immigration reform in 2009,” wrote Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Wisconsin nonprofit Voces de la Frontera in the Huffington Post. “Patience for 2010 is hard to come by when the new administration persists with an enforcement-only strategy that Obama criticized during the campaign trail.
“Both represent a betrayal to Latino voters who were a key constituency in delivering the presidency and a majority of Democrats to the U.S. Congress.
Obama never promised to pass an immigration bill in 2009; he always talked about dealing with the issue in 2009. (Anxious voters probably did not stop to weigh the nuance in his carefully chosen words.) But in addition to the matter of Congress passing (or not) a reform bill, advocates are starting to conclude that the candidate who ran on “Hope” and “Change” is not that different from his predecessor in the White House, whose approach to immigration was about strict enforcement and constant talk of the war on terror.
Responding to comments by Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano, Joshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, told The New York Times, “She’s increasing enforcement of laws that President Obama and she have both said are broken, and the result is going to be a lot of human misery.”
Immigration activists confirmed Thursday that marches are planned for several cities on May Day to press the Obama Administration and Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrant advocates want to put pressure on the president to follow through on campaign promises to reform the nation’s immigration system. They also want a stop to enforcement raids and deportations.
“On May 1, we’ll go out on the streets to tell Barack Obama’s government and the Congress that we need an immigration reform with a path to legalization for millions of the undocumented,” Juan José Gutiérrez, director of Movimiento Latino USA, told Univision Interactive Multimedia (UIM) in Los Angeles.
Activists in L.A., Gutierrez added, will start demonstrating this Saturday, April 4, on the 41st anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. “We will tell (the president) that the date is coming, the countdown to the 100 days when he promised to send an immigration reform proposal to Congress,” he said.
Gutiérrez said Obama had promised L.A. activists to send a bill to Congress before his first 100 days in office during a meeting in December 2007.