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A Moment of Truth on Immigration Reform

by Frank Sharry on 03/16/2010 at 4:07pm

The tipping point is here. The time has come. In all political and social movements there comes a moment when the confluence of events is so powerful they just can’t be ignored or dismissed. The long-running effort for comprehensive immigration reform is one such movement and its moment of truth is at hand. 

Our immigration system is badly broken and a majority of Americans support reform. The White House supports it. Most Democrats and some Republicans are prepared to vote for it.  Only a vocal minority oppose it. Yet the question remains whether President Obama will make a forceful and public push for reform legislation, and whether Congress has the guts to pass it.

If they needed any indication that the time to act is upon us, they will get it on Sunday when tens of thousands of people from across the country – citizens and immigrants alike – descend on the National Mall in Washington in a show of support for immigration reform aptly named the March for America.

Americans of every hue and political stripe will be demanding action on yet another item that has languished for too long at a time when it is in the interest of every American to pass immigration reform. The participants strongly believe that our immigration system is horribly out of step with our interests and our values.  They want legislation that addresses the myriad problems in the current immigration laws. Mostly, they want immigrants here without papers to get them and families that are separated by a heartless bureaucracy to be united.  They are so frustrated with the lack of action that they are doing that most American of traditions: they are assembling to petition their government. 

Those of us who have been in the trenches of the battles for immigration reform, who have listened and taken part in the endless debates, fought against the mischaracterizations of the issues and the demonization of immigrants, are wondering just what more will it take for Congress to move.

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