It’s time for Latino congressional reps to fight for immigration reform like they’ve never fought before

LatinaLista — The Latino blogosphere — yes, it does exist — was all abuzz about the meeting President Obama had today with immigrant activists. According to an AP article:

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President Barack Obama is enlisting activists and labor leaders in a push for comprehensive immigration legislation that will showcase Republican opposition and include a speech by the president.

Nice to know someone else had the same idea as Latina Lista.

It’s only right to put pressure on the very people running opposition against addressing immigration reform in Congress since their inaction is only leading to the Latino community becoming more vilified in state legislatures, conservative talk shows and Main Street USA.

It’s encouraging that there’s political will in the White House to keep the issue flaming, regardless of which burner it’s placed on at this point. Because as anyone who cooks knows, the heat from a backburner can still make things pretty hot in a kitchen.

It’s up to those who are in charge of the heat whether or not they turn it up, down or off.
And unfortunately, from news reports, it seems that the very leaders the greater Latino community depends on to champion them are losing the will to turn the heat up in Congress on immigration reform.

A Politico article shared that some members of the Hispanic Congressional Caucus have already thrown in the proverbial immigration reform towel.

Why?

“There are an insufficient number of Democratic votes to pass this in the Senate or in the House,” according to Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

Rep. Gutierrez has been one of the hardest working Latino leaders when it comes to pushing Obama not to give up on immigration reform. The guy even got himself arrested for civil disobedience in front of the White House!

So, when he says the fight is over for the time being then everyone should take notice and do one thing — pitch in!

Aside from Rep. Gutierrez and Sen. Bob Menendez, no other member of the CHC has taken a consistently public position in favor of immigration reform, and the question begs to be asked:

Why not?

If there is any hope for immigration reform to be addressed in Congress in a humane way, without an overboard number of punitive measures amended to it, it’s in this legislature. It’s already speculated that Democrats will either lose their majority in Congress or be damn close to losing it after this year’s elections.

And since most in the GOP congressional leadership feel they have to teach a lesson to the Latino community for immigration infractions, there’s no counting on them for any realistic help in passing a reform that doesn’t criminalize all undocumented immigrants before making them pay literally and figuratively for what they’ve done.

So, that leaves the CHC to lead the way in the fight to get immigration reform to the floor — or, at the least, the DREAM Act.

If ever there was a time to test Latino leadership, this is it. It will take all members of the CHC to convince their colleagues that immigration reform is the right thing to do and it will take CHC members to work with Latino activists and grass-roots campaigns to get the Latino electorate to come together and exercise the kind of influence that has been dormant in this sleeping giant for too long.

If the CHC can’t do anything more than issue a collective press release urging support of immigration reform then it’s a sad day for the Latino community because it validates one observation on the minds of too many –when it comes to true Latino leadership, the Cesar Chavez/Martin Luther King, Jr.-kind that isn’t afraid if an issue is politically correct just morally right — the Latino community is still waiting for the kind of Washington leadership that doesn’t quit.

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10 Comments

  1. Greg Creal said:

    “…there’s no counting on them for any realistic help in passing a reform that doesn’t criminalize all undocumented immigrants before making them pay literally and figuratively for what they’ve done.”
    They ARE criminals! They ARE illegal (not merely “undocumented”)! I know most of you activist Latinos want your gente to be able to come to the US whenever they want, become citizens immediately so they can receive all sorts of social service goodies, and be able to habla only Spanish. Maybe one day you will emigrate and breed your way into the majority in this country…but don’t count on it!

  2. Dave Bennion said:

    How many more meetings or conferences just like this one has Obama held? How many more will he hold before any bill is passed, or even introduced?
    The only thing Obama has done in a year and a half in office is increase deportations. But the public doesn’t know this, they think he’s trying to pass amnesty by fiat, because too many on the left and the right assume that is what is happening, all evidence to the contrary.

  3. neo said:

    What about legal immigrants? Are they criminals too?? If not then why don’t we reform that first? if congress is not capable enough to resolve this issue, president can issue following executive orders.
    1. Issue an order to process any immigration related application within one month, this would make system responsive.
    2. Document all undocumented and give them some temporary guest worker visa, so that they can be tracked and there is no further migration to this country. Give a month to illegals to register themselves.
    3. keep them on this visa and never give citizenship or any Social security/medicare benefits.
    4. Implement a large fine for hiring any un-documented, Since business already have documented 12 million workers, they would not hire any new illegal (which would be undocumented)
    There should be a message to illegals, since you broke the law, you can never be citizen, though you can stay here on temp visa and try to improve your life, also you will not get any benefit from welfare programs.

  4. Texan123 said:

    Morally right? You must be joking. What is morally right about illegally crossing the border, buying false documents,(FRAUD), Lying to employers and others about who you are, getting paid ‘under the table’ and then crying about how you are discriminated against because you are brown.
    You will vote Democrat because they promise amnesty, disregarding the pro abortion issue that kills millions of innocent babies a year. You don’t have a problem with the gays either, right? They are morally right, aren’t they?
    Where do you get your moral standards from? Certainly not the WORD OF TRUTH.

  5. Douglas Rivlin (Gutierrez) said:

    Good article. I think Rep. Gutierrez’ comments at the press conference last week (reported in Politico, The Hill, and elsewhere) have been a bit misunderstood. The Democrats alone don’t have the votes for immigration reform, but they never have and it isn’t news. You need at least some Republicans to make immigration reform happen because some Dems on the left and the right won’t support sensible reform. Rep. Gutierrez’ comments were a shot at the Republicans for not stepping forward. He said he can bring 200 House Dems if the GOP can bring 20. The votes are there, but GOPers are too interested in politics and not interested in solving problems.

  6. Chicano future tense said:

    Latina Lista writes..
    ..”If the CHC can’t do anything more than issue a collective press release urging support of immigration reform then it’s a sad day for the Latino community because it validates one observation on the minds of too many –when it comes to true Latino leadership, the Cesar Chavez/Martin Luther King, Jr.-kind that isn’t afraid if an issue is politically correct just morally right — the Latino community is still waiting for the kind of Washington
    leadership that doesn’t quit.”
    Yes,it is a sad day because it speaks volumes to us of the ongoing politics of racial division and hostile American nativism(xenophobia)primarily directed towards Mexican people.
    It is also sad in the sense that it is a reflection of poor Latino political leadership coming from elected representatives.
    But like the old saying goes..”behind every gray cloud there is a silver lining”..
    It is starting to sink in in a very real way for Latinos and their leaders that immigration reform for the foreseeable future is dead.Trying to salvage whatever support is left to them The Obama and DNC are out there once again cynically pounding their breasts in a faux moral outrage,playing politics for the primary purpose of getting Latino voters to come out in November and vote to keep them in office..
    This latest Obama buzz is just that-a buzz ..all buzz and no bite..just a put on charade act for appearances to get votes so they can stay in office.As far as immigration reform itself..well they have proven over and over again that they are just cynically milking it as an issue to fool Latinos again with the that same old illusive carrot of immigration reform dangling in front of the work horse with it’s blinders on..
    All is not lost..The sad day mentioned here in the referred to article can in another sense be transformed into a “good” day..
    Sometimes through defeat and the sadness of failure we can learn valuable lessons that will help find another direction instead of being continually mislead, fooled and used.
    That lesson being is that we should NOT primarily look to elected political leaders from mainstream establishment parties to solve our problems.Without great struggle,sacrifice and pain Freedom is seldom if ever “voted” purely out of some make believe moral noblesse oblige”..
    In the real world is doesn’t work that way and history teaches that it is only when people begin to organize,unify.. look inward toward themselves building cohesion,self reliance.. from these processes always spring new dynamic leaders with fresh ideas strategies and tactics which capture the support and imagination of the people..such people will surely be our future leaders NOT the stale old cynical elected two party politicians..

  7. arturo fernandez said:

    Greg, have you ever driven one mile over the speed-limit? That would make you a CRIMINAL. The difference is that they had good reasons to come to the US without documents. There’s no good reason why you should be endagering the public with your lawlessness.
    Texan123, immoral is vicious attacks against good people.

  8. Katie said:

    They had good reasons to come to the U. S. without documentation. Our Citizens aren’t being endangered by the invasion?
    Everyone has a “good” reason for bending the law don’t they? It doesn’t make it right. Do the right thing don’t drive your vehicles too fast and stop this invasion. Obey our laws and enter the legal way and there will be no problem. Just because times are tough is no reason to disrespect our laws.

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