Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Where we stand on immigration reform, no holding back

The organization Fast for Families is calling for an end to unjust deportations, deaths on the border, exploitation at work, and fear of living in the shadows. Sign their petition demanding that Speaker Boehner call for an up-or-down vote now! 

Sign the Petition
Dear MoveOn member,

Lo siento, me duele—it hurts.  

There's no sugarcoating it: things don't look good for comprehensive immigration reform in the near future. I'm disappointed. I had hoped that by now we would be looking at an up-or-down vote on the House bill, not a piecemeal deal.

But most Republicans in Congress are still refusing to allow a vote on reform. 

So, how did we get here?

After a decades-long battle for a comprehensive solution to immigration reform, it seemed that the issue would take center stage in 2013. During his inaugural address, President Obama asserted that the time had come for comprehensive immigration reform, raising the hopes of nearly 11 million aspiring Americans and their families, immigration reform leaders, and allies.

In June, a far-from-perfect but bipartisan bill passed overwhelmingly in the Senate, only to get stalled in the House. Back in 2007, the fight for reform was derailed in the Senate by the far-right, and the bill never even made it to the floor. This time around, it was the right-wing members of the House and Speaker Boehner who stopped the bill from ever coming to the floor for an up-or-down vote. 

Meanwhile, despite this failure of leadership, MoveOn members and allies have been doing inspiring work to build support for reform at the grassroots level. Fighting hard for a way to bypass Speaker Boehner and force a vote on immigration reform, MoveOn members started calling on Democrats to adopt a discharge petition strategy that could force a vote without Boehner's consent.  

  • MoveOn leaders like Amos Lim from California, an immigrant in a bi-national relationship, appeared in a video explaining the issues at stake in the immigration debate for other MoveOn members. Amos has continued to stand on the front line, sharing his story with the media and his representative in Congress, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
  • MoveOn leaders like Linda Serafini-Gale from Washington risked arrest while doing non-violent direct action, and Harriet Heywood from Florida, Andres Pacheco, and Stephanie Hamm from Texas started petitions and led local actions.
  • MoveOn members created the Wall of Shame website—calling out some of the most egregious and bigoted attacks made by ultra-right Republicans—like Representative Steve King, whose seat is now vulnerable in 2014. 
These leaders and others have organized actions and never backed down from pushing Democrats and persuadable Republicans to do everything in their power to fight for comprehensive immigration reform. 

Today, I am uninspired by the lack of progress in Washington. President Obama started the year demanding comprehensive reform only to close it by saying he would accept a piecemeal deal. It's infuriating to see the Democratic leadership willing to let Republicans set the tone for this fight—from the racist remarks of Steve King to Speaker Boehner's refusal to call the House bill for an up-or-down vote.1

And yet, the tenacious spirit of the immigrant rights movement perseveres. Allies continue to push Democrats and Republicans to explore viable solutions in order to pass reform. At the same time, more and more people are demanding an end to unjust deportations that only serve to tear families apart. 

Given the people power from the grassroots, and President Obama's commitment to reform, we're likely to see some meaningful change in the coming year. 

Thanks for all you do.  

–Mariana, Alejandro, Victoria, Ilya and the rest of the team


1. "Obama Backs Piecemeal Immigration Overhaul," The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2013

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