Tag Archives: economic crisis

Politico: Immigration Heats Up

obama-flag

Today an article ran in Politico saying that immigration is gearing up for a big debate on reform. While the article starts out with a quote from the Center for Immigration Studies, a front organization for FAIR (which has been labeled an anti-immigrant hate group), it takes a purely political approach to whether comprehensive reform will happen this year.

Obama dealt with the immigration issue briefly at the White House on March 18 when the Congressional Hispanic Caucus met privately with the president. Lawmakers said he promised a high-profile event on immigration in the next month or two — but said he did not agree to commit to getting immigration reform passed this year. Instead, he said he’ll support efforts to have Congress take up the issue this fall.

“He didn’t make a commitment to sign it before the end of the year,” a senior administration official involved in the discussions said. “Presumably, if you’re launching the legislative debate in the fall, that’d be a pretty tall order. His commitment is to get this started.”

The article cites the increasing focus on the economy as problematic for support of comprehensive reform. However, pushing through reform is not mutually exclusive to helping our ailing economy. Reform would bring workers out of the shadows, allowing them the legal pathways to organize for better conditions and higher wages, raising wages across the board for all workers. Reform would also increase tax revenue from undocumented immigrants who are already paying certain taxes, but would be paying more as legal residents.

Also mentioned in the article is the booming fight over enforcement of immigration laws. While some argue that undocumented immigrants bring with them crime and violence, the myth of the immigrant criminal has been dispelled time and time again.

However, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) insisted the enforcement efforts were actually leading to more crime.

“Those drunkards and those rapists and those murderers do most of their drunkenness, their murdering and their raping in the very immigrant community in which they reside. And you know who wants to get rid of them? The very immigrant community that lives there, but they cannot call the police,” he said, insisting that comprehensive immigration reform was the only real solution.

It has been well-documented that programs like 287(g) that was debated in Congress yesterday, have a chilling-effect on communities, making undocumented immigrants far less likely to report crimes.

Politico may think that immigration is not politically viable this year, but I certainly do and there are millions with me. We will continue to push for reform in 2009 and will not take no for an answer.

To read the full Politico article, keep reading.

Continue reading

“No More Heroes”: Why America Must Stand Up

HISPRALLY2.NE.041006.EDR.JPG

Today on the Huffington Post,  long-time community organizer Gabe Gonzalez writes about the historic moment we face as Americans. He cites our long tradition of creating American heroes that symbolize or catalyze social change and why, at this moment we need collective action, not heroes.

We should have a country that has no need for heroes. One in which you can get health care, save your home, work in peace. We have the ability to do this. Even in the midst of crises we remain the most powerful country on Earth.

I believe firmly that what this country needs, wants, and what it must have if we are to prosper again is a focus on community values of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice. That’s why I organize, and why I work so hard to get others to do the same. If there is one thing we saw clearly in the debate around the stimulus, it is that entrenched interests in both parties are the biggest obstacle in our path. And right now, with so much on the line, we need to ensure that they do not prevail.

We know from history, that for change to happen, we must have a bold president and an electorate willing to have his back. This is the only way to seize the opportunity presented by crises and act to change the fundamental structures that put us here.

Were we stand right now is with a President that has laid out a bold vision. But that cannot become real if we, those that chose him, are silent. We need to become active in ways that this country sees only once in a generation. We need to all act with consistency and determination to support an agenda that includes healthcare, immigration reform and fair banking laws. We cannot fail — even America cannot create enough heroes to save us from the repercussions of missing this opportunity. I believe our president has the capacity for greatness, but not if we let him stand alone. Mass public action is what this country needs most of all if we are going to create the change we so clearly demand.

As a country, we must work together (all of us) in order to overcome the crises and obstacles in our way. During times of turmoil, America has historically looked for a scapegoat (typically immigrants) and turned to the politics of divisiveness and finger-pointing to alleviate the fear and tension the country was facing. We must learn from our history and understand that, like MLK Jr. said “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly”.

I encourage you all to read Gabe Gonzalez’s full post here.