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Earlier this week, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform. Although many in the news media have focused on disappointment with the timeframe he laid out — draft legislation later this year, and action early next — they miss a crucial point.
The President continues to highlight how comprehensive immigration reform is in the best interests of our country. And he is being joined by leaders from all across America.
Right now, much of the nation’s attention is on health insurance reform and the accompanying side-show generated by vitriolic opponents of the President’s proposal. As immigrant advocates, we’re all too familiar with those angry, ugly attacks. We’ll no doubt see some of those characters, led by Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck, during the upcoming immigration reform debate. But we’re going to be ready. Across the country, the forces supporting immigration reform have been mobilizing and adding new allies.
This time, we’re building a broader coalition of local elected officials, African-American leaders, labor, the religious community and local law enforcement. That’s a powerful and unprecedented coalition, uniting for the common purpose of achieving comprehensive immigration reform in the interests of our nation.
Let me just review a few developments from the past few weeks.
On Monday night, we learned from CASA de Maryland, posting at Free State Politics, that the Baltimore City Council is stepping up:
The Baltimore City Council passed a resolution– the first like it in Maryland– calling on President Obama and Congress to act swiftly to pass real, comprehensive immigration reform.
According to Baltimore City Councilmember Rochelle “Rikki” Spector:
As a city with a rich immigrant history, we recognize that our city and country will be stronger if we can assist new immigrants in fully assimilating into our community, there’s no doubt that the country has a broken immigration system, and that local municipalities are paying a big price as a result of Washington’s inaction.
On the labor front, the Wonk Room reports a significant development out of Detroit:
The local AFL-CIO in Detroit — where so many American autoworkers have been laid off — recently adopted a resolution vigorously supporting the labor federations’ immigration principles.