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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Immigrant advocates wonder will Democrats fight as hard for immigration reform as they’ve done for healthcare?

Immigrant advocates wonder will Democrats fight as hard for immigration reform as they’ve done for healthcare?

LatinaLista– The unexpected statement from the President arrived late this afternoon. It was short and to the point:

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Statement by the President Praising the Bipartisan Immigration Reform Framework

In June, I met with members of both parties, and assigned Secretary Napolitano to work with them and key constituencies around the country to craft a comprehensive approach that will finally fix our broken immigration system.

I am pleased to see that Senators Schumer and Graham have produced a promising, bipartisan framework which can and should be the basis for moving forward.

It thoughtfully addresses the need to shore up our borders, and demands accountability from both workers who are here illegally and employers who game the system.
My Administration will be consulting further with the Senators on the details of their proposal, but a critical next step will be to translate their framework into a legislative proposal, and for Congress to act at the earliest possible opportunity.

I congratulate Senators Schumer and Graham for their leadership, and pledge to do everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus this year on this important issue so we can continue to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform.

It was a statement that the President was probably hoping would be made in his absence before he had to change his plans and stay in DC for Sunday’s vote on healthcare.

With thousands of immigrant advocates expected to descend on Washington on Sunday, it will be interesting to see if the President and his family hang out at the White House, within earshot of the vocal protesters, or take off for Camp David.

Either way, it doesn’t matter. What matters is if once healthcare is passed — without bipartisan support — will Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) be used as the olive branch to appease the GOP’s ruffled feathers?

In other words, will Democrats and the White House refuse to move forward on CIR if there is NOT bipartisan support? In the process, what concessions and punitive measures will be made in the name of claiming progress?

While the President certainly understands the urgency for American families without health insurance to get the healthcare bill passed as soon as possible, there is speculation that the same sense of urgency is not felt on behalf of the 11 million people waiting for this congressional action.

It seems today’s op-ed in the Washington Post by Senators Schumer and Graham, authors of the Senate version of the immigration reform bill, gives us a hint as to what to expect — and it’s going to be a long uphill battle no matter what’s included in the bill.

Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.

Unfortunately, neither Senator, at least in the op-ed, addresses the heart of the matter in this debate — the reunification of families, halting the practice of detaining children in detention centers who travel to the U.S. by themselves with the intention of finding their parents, halting the detention of whole families in detention facilities, classifying parents as felons who have tried to re-enter the country after being deported only because they are trying to get back to their children and all the other humanitarian and human rights issues that have evolved since the federal government decided to see every undocumented immigrant as a terrorist.

At the end of the day, when the dignity and reputation of undocumented immigrants will have been dragged through the proverbial mud and Tea Party and other immigration restrictionists will be allowed to go unchallenged when they make erroneous and racist statements about the immigration issue, the real question on everyone’s minds remains:

Will Democrats fight for this issue as strongly as they have fought for healthcare reform?

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