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New immigration reform campaign strives to separate the politicians from the legislators

LatinaLista — The minute Sen. Reid uttered the statement this morning “We won’t get to immigration reform this work period,” the mainstream news sites couldn’t wait to announce that the Nevada Sen. had “backpedaled” on his promise to the Latino community.


Of course, the statement bewildered immigration advocates because over the weekend Sen. Reid announced his strong support of immigration reform at a rally in Las Vegas. It wasn’t long before immigration reform leaders had to do some damage control on behalf of the Senator.

Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, and Chair of the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign, said in part in a press release:

Today’s remarks by Senator Reid about what items will be slated for action during the current work period referred to Senate floor action. Senator Reid cannot bring a bill to the floor until it is drafted, introduced, and marked up by the Senate Judiciary Committee. That is the urgent work that is required during the current work period.

We call on Senators Schumer and Graham to complete their bill so that the Senate can act. The time for comprehensive immigration reform is NOW.

At the end of the day, Sen. Reid’s office put out their own press release to clarify the Senator’s remarks:


Washington, D.C. –José Dante Parra, spokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid issued the following statement today restating Sen. Reid’s strong commitment to have immigration reform legislation brought to the U.S. Senate floor this Congress:

“Sen. Reid has been consistent for months about his desire to pass an immigration reform bill that is tough, fair and practical. At the beginning of this Congress, Sen. Reid included immigration reform among the Senate’s top priorities and that is where such reform remains. This reform must include strong and effective enforcement of our borders; a requirement that immigrants here illegally register with the government, learn English, pay taxes, pass criminal background checks, and get in the back of the line to earn legalization; and punish unscrupulous employers who abuse immigrants and undercut American workers.

“On Saturday in Nevada, he reaffirmed his unyielding support for such a bill. His commitment remains as firm today as it was Saturday, as it was in January of last year, and as it has been over the years he has taken on the challenge of fixing our broken system. Make no mistake, as soon as he gets a bill from Sens. Schumer, Graham and the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Reid will bring immigration reform to the floor of the U.S. Senate, and hopes Republicans will join Democrats in doing what’s right for our country.”

The range of emotions Sen. Reid’s matter-of-fact comment elicited from immigration advocates underscores the raw exhaustion most people feel about being in the middle of an issue that is being tossed back and forth faster than a hot potato.

The immediacy that media outlets pounced on his statement, without clarifying his remarks with his office, as a sign that there is no real Congressional support for immigration reform underscores 1. The importance of the issue and 2. The cluelessness that exists about who or who does not support CIR.

While some Congressional representatives worry more about their political careers rather than commit to working on a bill that will help the nation regain a stronger foothold in its national security, financially benefit the weak economy and regain national stature as a nation that honors human rights, a new campaign by Reform Immigration FOR America will force these Capitol Hill representatives to take a public stand.

The campaign is called “Stand Up for Comprehensive Immigration Reform” and it will highlight the supporters and opponents of reform in the U.S. Senate on a “Change Takes Courage” list.

The campaign will encourage and call on Senators to state their position “on the record” in order to be counted either for or against reform this year. Coming out of the spring recess and the events of April 10th, the list has grown to twelve declared supporters, including Republican Senators Judd Gregg and Lindsey Graham, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Assistant Majority Leader Durbin, and Democratic Conference Leader Patty Murray.

The campaign will be pressuring Senators in the next few weeks to take a stand and will compile a list called “Leaders and Losers on their website so there can’t be anymore cluelessness as to where a Senator stands when it comes to tackling the next big reform measure on Capitol Hill.

Perhaps there should be a second list: “Politicians and Legislators.”

It doesn’t matter if someone is opposed to the bill as much as it does that their opposition would blind them from refusing to work on a bill that needs both supporters and opponents’ input if a strong bill is to be crafted, passed and withstand the test of time.

Anybody can be a politician but it takes skill to be a legislator.

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  • Dave Bennion
    April 14, 2010 at 7:11 am

    There’s an easy way to sort out who is for and against CIR: introduce a bill and vote on it. Democrats don’t want to do that because they don’t actually want the public to know where they stand on the issue.
    As long as RIFA permits the Dems to continue to waffle, they will continue to waffle. This latest campaign will do little to change that. Whether or not he publicly affirms his commitment to CIR once AGAIN Reid can continue to one day say “yes” and the next day “no.”
    What Dems and RIFA don’t seem to realize is that every time Obama, Reid, and Schumer affirm their commitment to CIR but do nothing about it, they are actually confirming their lack of of commitment to CIR. If they were committed to CIR, they would introduce and vote on a bill. There is no reason not to do it except fear of political backlash.
    The Dems are not being honest and RIFA is facilitating this continual evasion. It’s up to us to call them out on this and present alternatives to the failed strategy of the past 5 years or more.

  • Texan123
    April 14, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    It should be obvious, after the healthcare bribery bill, that the votes must be guaranteed BEFORE a bill is presented for a vote. Like healthcare, we will not see the bill or know what is in it until passage is assured. I just can’t wait to see how much this will cost American taxpayers during a deep recession. Just the processing of paperwork and background checks for millions of applicants will be costly. Not to mention making millions more low wage workers eligible for all kinds of social programs. This is not what our country needs right now. But then, Obama and his thugs are out to destroy the American way of life. Legal status to millions of dishonest lawbreakers would help achieve his goal.

  • Emma
    April 14, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I agree with David. Rumor has it that the Democrats’ strategy is to “appear” to be working on immigration reform, but that they will not pass a bill before the elections. That is very deceptive because the Dems will lose seats in Nov, so after the elections the votes will not be there. It is now or never for immigration reform. The politicians should know that inaction will be punished at the polls.

  • SDOG
    April 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I think this list is a great idea.It exposes characters who speak out both sides of their mouths when discussing this topic. This is an important change for those spearheading immigration reform, solid fact, not rumor and emotions need to rule this debate. The “we want our country back” whiskey tangos need to understand that it will never again be the 20th century, so they will never “get it back”. The sheer foolishness of this popular statement astounds me.
    We as a country need to adapt as time progresses and address this topic that effects both US citizens and undocumented migrants.The 14th amendment will not be changed, so we need to figure out strategies to deal with those who choose utilize constitutional loopholes. This is an issue that needs to be dealt with. I’m basically talking about US citizen kids with undocumented parents here. Kids need to be with their folks, end of story as far as I’m concerned.

  • David
    April 16, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Texan misses the other side of the coin–CIR would stimulate the economy. We see studies proving this all the time. The most recent ones I’ve seen are reported on at
    A couple of points:
    “A January 2010 study by Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda, conducted for the Immigration Policy Center and the Center for American Progress, estimates that during the first three years after legalization, the higher earning power of newly legalized workers ‘would generate $4.5 to $5.4 billion in additional net tax revenue.’ ”
    “A January 2010 study from the University of Southern California estimates that because unauthorized immigrants earn less than they would if they had legal status, the California state government lost out on $310 million in income taxes in 2009, while the federal government missed out on $1.4 billion.
    Many states have conducted recent studies that find that immigrants contribute more to states than they take: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Washington D.C., Washington, and Wisconsin. Additionally, 10 states have found that UNDOCUMENTED immigrants add significantly to their state’s economy.

  • cookie
    April 16, 2010 at 8:00 am

    I fail to see that wanting one’s country back in the sense of the fiscal responsiblity we once had is a negative thing. We are trillions in debt. Is that what being progessive and keeping up with the times means? If so, no thanks.
    The citizenship clause of the 14th amendment WILL be changed to interpreted the way it was meant by the writers of it. There is no loophole being used. It is very clear that children born on our soil to illegal aliens are not American citizens accordiing to the 14th’s wording.
    Yes, kids need to be with their parents. If the parents are here illegally they neeed to go back to their homelands with their kids.

  • Shane walsh
    April 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    cookie , the “we want our country back” mantra has nothing to do with “fiscal responsibility” It is a supremacist desire to revert back to the mid 20th century when the Tea party fools were young and could still reap all of the rewards from being who they were without competition from African Americans and other minority groups for education and higher level jobs.
    BTW, what version of the 14th amendment are you reading, or are you simply choosing for yourself what it says?

  • cookie
    April 20, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Shane, I assume you have proof that the statement made by the tea partiers of “we want our country back” has some racist, sinister meaning? Please provide it then. Have you gone into their website to see what their mission statements are? I have and it has nothing to do with the desire for less minorities. The only miniorities they’d like out of this country are illegal aliens. Shouldn’t we all desire that as loyal and law abiding Americans? Their focus isn’t even on illegal immigration anyway is it is about government fiscal responsibility, the government taking over healthcare, socialism and lower taxes.
    The writers of the 14th amendment which includes the birthright citizenship clause did not intend for children born on our soil from illegal aliens to gain instant citizenship. I can post many links to prove it and I will do so if you ask.

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