Latino grassroots campaigns are missing pieces of the immigration reform puzzle

Latino grassroots campaigns are missing pieces of the immigration reform puzzle

LatinaLista-- The popular consensus among some in the Latino community fighting for immigrant rights is that the Obama administration and the Democrats are not doing enough to bring about immigration reform, help undocumented students, keep families from being separated, etc.


If a moratorium can be issued by the White House regarding offshore drilling, some wonder why can't a moratorium be issued for deporting students. (It was asked and rejected.)

So, it's not surprising that most think Obama and the Democratic Party have abandoned their promises of passing comprehensive immigration reform. Yet, there have been small signs that Democrats are doing something.

The first sign was last week at Sen. Schumer's New York office when he stopped to speak to some students who were staging a sit-in protesting lack of action on immigration reform and the DREAM Act in his office reception area. The senator stopped and spoke to them and could be heard on a video, that was being filmed by a network camera, say something to the effect that he's trying to find GOP support and for the students to help him.

He also appeared frustrated in the video when speaking to the students -- probably more so because they set up camp at his front door but he did seem genuinely frustrated that the students thought he wasn't doing anything.

Sen. Durbin, who has long been advocating for immigration reform and undocumented students, contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to spare deportation from Eric Balderas the Harvard student.

And then there's the President.

President Obama now finds himself fighting the GOP again. Yet it has nothing to do with BP but border security.

According to news reports, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), the second-ranking Senate Republican, accuses the President of saying he would not act to secure the U.S. border with Mexico until Congress acts to provide undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

The White House is blatantly denying the accusation and with good reason -- it's not true.

From Obama's past actions of giving into GOP demands to send more National Guard troops to the border as a way to appease them to come on board with sponsoring immigration reform, it makes little sense that Obama would voice such an either-or proposition.

The likelier scenario is that Kyl twisted the meaning of whatever was said to drum up more outrage and controversy towards Obama and the White House among ultra conservatives who harbor the delusion of rounding up 12 million people to send south across the border.

The notion that the GOP will come on board in this legislative season is not a realistic expectation and one that most in the Latino community see for themselves. It's no wonder that there is frustration on both sides but the Obama administration and the Democratic Party are forgetting a very important political weapon -- the very one that got him elected.

During the presidential campaign, the Democratic Party made people care about the election because they provided instructions at the grassroots level on how to get Obama elected. The Party didn't solely rely on Washington organizations. They reached out to people, talked to them, emailed them and explained what it would take to win the election -- and Latinos responded.

The same is needed for this issue. It's not that people don't care but no one from the Party or the White House is talking directly to communities on how to help, what to do, who to call.

In all honesty, it makes little sense to stage a hunger strike or sit-in protest in the offices of a senator who has pledged to work on immigration reform. It would have meant more to have staged the protest in the offices of a senator who refuses to support immigration reform or the DREAM Act.

There is energy, passion and commitment in the Latino community to work on immigration reform but until the Democratic Party takes a page from their dusty playbook, and create the same strategy as they did for the presidential election, frustration will continue to mount between Democratic congressional reps and the White House and Latinos who want to help and are only waiting to be told how to do it.


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