LatinaLista-- Today's speech by President Obama regarding immigration reform was exactly what was expected -- nothing new but at least a stronger show of verbal and public support by the President for Congress to tackle immigration reform, or at the least, the DREAM Act.
What is new, and is obviously the result of the President's meetings with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and immigrant advocacy groups, is the change in strategy on who should be held accountable if Congress doesn't address immigration reform.
From press releases issued throughout the day by various immigration advocacy groups, it's clear that the GOP will be held to higher accountability if nothing is done to move immigration reform forward.
The usual stall tactics, double-talk and dismissive replies that have become the norm response from the GOP in Congress when asked about immigration reform won't any longer be tolerated -- not just by the Latino community or media but mainstream media.
If the President's speech today did anything at all, it made clear where he stands on the issue and what his expectations are from members of Congress. From this angle, it should make mainstream media's job a lot easier when asking Republican congressional reps why they refuse to do their job in light of the President's expectations.
Though the bottom line is no one can make them address immigration reform, obviously, not even our President, their inaction and continued rhetoric citing a million reasons why they can't consider reforming immigration before their demands are met will not be accepted anymore by the Latino community or the American public who has tired over this debate.
They will be held accountable and their lack of political will to do something to help the Latino community and the nation move forward will be remembered at election time. Get out the vote will take on a whole new meaning with a demographic who played by the rules in every possible way to only be ignored and dismissed in the end.
There's only so much longer that this kind of dirty politics will be tolerated.
The campaign to elevate awareness among the American people that the GOP is behind the ongoing immigration woes of the country have already begun. It will be up to the GOP and its members to either press the leadership into doing what is right or go down in history as being the party that took party politics to such an extreme that they lost sight of what the GOP traditionally stood for and let down not only their members but the nation.
Sen. Harry Reid:
"President Obama's speech today laid out the reasons why a comprehensive, bipartisan solution to our immigration challenges will protect our economic and national security. I remain committed to passing a bill this year that secures our borders, crack downs on unscrupulous employers, and requires those here illegally to get right with the law and go to the back of the line.
"More than two months ago, Senate Democrats introduced a framework of ideas to fix our broken immigration system in a comprehensive way, and we extended an invitation to Republicans to work together on this important issue. We know that if we fail to act at the federal level, states and localities will continue to pursue a piecemeal approach to immigration that will not work. But instead of matching the leadership of Democrats to solve this problem and engaging in good faith negotiations, Republicans continue to engage in political grandstanding and polarizing rhetoric that encourages intolerance of our vibrant immigration population.
"Those of us who have worked on this issue for years know that now is the time for action. We can address immigration this year but it's going to require an unwavering commitment from everyone involved: the White House and both parties in Congress. Senate Democrats understand that we cannot afford to back down from this challenge because a comprehensive solution to immigration has the potential to make our nation stronger and safer."
Pastor Warren H. Stewart Sr., of Phoenix's First Institutional Baptist Church and Member of the National Immigration Forum Board:
...Arizona - my home - has focused the eyes of the nation on our broken and immoral immigration system. The President called Arizona's new immigration law understandable but ill-conceived. It's worse than that. It helps create a poisonous environment of distrust and fear, terrorizes communities, and causes extreme hardship and trauma for immigrants and citizens alike and divides everyone. Arizona hasn't just triggered a national crisis; it has triggered a moral crisis.
Even after the potential implementation of state measures like Arizona's, we would still have a broken and immoral federal immigration system that tears families apart, wastes our tax dollars, and divides our communities. This is a federal problem that will require a bipartisan solution. Republicans should join the President and offer their best ideas to truly reform our broken system once and for all. Only with both parties working together can we find a long term solution to this problem...
Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
...Today, there are 12 million undocumented immigrants, including at least half a million LGBT people who are forced to live in the shadows of our society. We need humane detention standards, a path to citizenship for undocumented people, asylum for those persecuted because of sexual orientation or gender identity, and family unification of the estimated 36,000 binational couples who cannot live together in this country because federal law bans recognition of their relationships. Immigration reform is a national issue; it is an LGBT issue. It's time for Congress and the president to step up and act now to reform this failed system. Our country has waited too long for action and solutions."
Frank Sharry, founder and executive director of America's Voice,: