+ ++ DC Latino leadership taking baby steps supporting immigration reform | Latina Lista

DC Latino leadership taking baby steps supporting immigration reform

DC Latino leadership taking baby steps supporting immigration reform

LatinaLista -- Finally, there's some movement in DC regarding the immigration issue.

chcobama.jpgI'm not talking about the President's much anticipated speech, that word has it will contain nothing more than stressing accountability and clarifying what side of the wall he stands.

Nor am I talking about any progress, or more like lack of it, in getting any of the Congressional GOP to commit to addressing immigration reform before the legislative season ends.

President Obama (center) stands with Rep. Joe Baca (right) and other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. (Photo: AP)

In fact, immigration reform is pretty much looked upon by high-ranking politicians as a non-issue for the remaining congressional agenda. Yet, even with that said, there is reason to have some hope that traction on the issue will accelerate.

Today, Raul Grijalva launched a petition in support of immigration reform:

[We are asking] people to sign Raul's petition to send a message calling on President Obama and Congress to step-up and take real action to fix our broken immigration system by supporting comprehensive reform and prioritizing civil rights and realistic solutions, not digging trenches and pointing guns at the border.

As you know, reform needs to recognize the economic and social realities of immigration, create an earned path to citizenship and set up immigration as a success story, instead of a political football.

It's a small but good start. Now, it's time for the rest of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to step up to the plate in support of CIR and I know just where they can begin.

Sunday morning political talk shows.

Up until now, very few Latinos have gone on these shows to speak up for immigration reform. It's time that the CHC selected those members who are eloquent in front of the camera and are quick thinkers who can respond to their critical counterparts with whom they will invariably be paired.

This is a time where the ever-present Latino ego has to be put aside for the good of the cause. For those whose strengths don't lie in speaking before the camera, they need to get busy writing op-eds and submitting them to not just national newspapers but hometown dailies.

As much as this will shock and offend national papers, not everybody outside the Beltway or the big city limits read them. In fact, a lot don't read them!

It's time to remember the smaller newspapers. In these towns, the anti-immigrant rhetoric has taken a strong foothold among a citizenry who parrot the inaccuracies and misrepresentations of immigration reform, as heard on conservative talk radio and cable, and regurgitate it as the truth.

Balanced and authoritative op-eds may not completely sway opinion but it may make people think twice about what they accept as fact.

Then there's the blogosphere. Whether it's because some Latino leaders are too busy to participate or they just don't get it, either way social media has been woefully underutilized by Latino DC leadership.

I'm not talking about having a Facebook page or a Twitter account. That is already "old school." I'm talking about reaching out, collaborating, retweeting with others in the blogosphere.

For some reason, there is the illusion that if you are published on the Huffington Post you've reached the online masses. It's only partly true. There are thousands of other blogs and online news sites that would welcome a post from a congressperson. In turn, their reach may extend to other circles not reached by Huffington Post.

These other sites are not hard to find. In fact, each congressional rep can start in their backyard of constituents and work from there.

The important thing is that the message of immigration reform continues and it's the DC leadership that must lead the way followed by state and community leaders.

Immigration reform is misunderstood on so many levels that we need leadership to clarify for the general public what it entails, how it will work, and most importantly, how it will benefit the American public.

The Latino community doesn't just need one leader to champion immigration reform -- we need leaders who know how to lead.

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