Dear MoveOn member,
My husband, Cesar Chavez, and I decided to move back to Delano, CA to begin organizing the United Farm Workers in 1962. Thousands came to work with our movement once the Delano Grape Strike started in 1965—50 years ago this coming year. Millions of good people in North America supported us by boycotting grapes and other products.
All these years, I chose to stay in the background. I walked picket lines, managed our credit union, and cared for our eight children. Cesar respected my privacy. I never spoke in public or talked with reporters.
Unlike my husband, I never got very involved in politics until October 2012, when President Obama came to dedicate the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument at the Tehachapi Mountain town of Keene, CA. That's where Cesar lived and worked his last quarter century, and it's where he is buried.
As we walked away from paying our respects at my husband's gravesite, with the President holding my arm, I asked, "Mr. President, will you promise you will do something on immigration reform?"
"Yes, Mrs. Chavez, I promise I will," he said.
Tonight, President Obama kept his promise to me and to the American people by using his power to help many of the immigrants who toil in our fields, make beds, clean rooms, cook meals, work in construction and manufacturing, and care for our young and elderly. They serve our country in the military. I've known the farm workers all my life. Like other immigrants, they take jobs most other Americans won't take, for pay most other Americans won't accept, and under conditions most other Americans won't tolerate. Big parts of our economy can't survive without immigrants.
All President Obama did is what President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush did: allowing some immigrants to stay and work here. Most of the immigrants who qualify have been in this country for some time. They have clean records. What the President did is just temporary, and he acted only after Republicans in the House of Representatives repeatedly refused to pass a bipartisan bill that already passed the U.S. Senate.
President Obama did the right thing on immigration. Please join me in thanking him for his leadership. At the same time, we should urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will solve this problem once and for all.
–Helen F. Chavez, widow of Cesar Chavez
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This email was sent to eddie alfaro on November 20, 2014. To change your email address or update your contact info, click here. To remove yourself from this list, click here.