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In early 2008, our Executive Director, Frank Sharry, had an idea.
‘There will be a new president in November,’ he thought. ‘With change will come another opportunity to pursue something this country desperately needs—comprehensive immigration reform.’
‘Advocates of this fight need to be stronger,’ he thought. ‘There is a need in the movement for a war room, a rapid-response communications shop that can push out a pro-reform message and push back against the extremists and the status quo.’
And with that—and with the help of many friends and allies along the way—came the birth of America’s Voice. At every step of the way, we’ve been privileged to work with outstanding allies who make this fight their life’s work. Today, we want to thank everyone who has helped bring the movement this far.
The last four years have been ones of great struggle. We in the immigration reform movement watched as Barack Obama went on to win a historic election, hopeful that he would fulfill a campaign promise to prioritize immigration reform during his first year. Though that effort faltered, we were able to pass the DREAM Act in the House of Representatives and push for the closest Senate vote on the DREAM Act ever, 55-41 in the last few days of the 111th Congressional session. We fought hard against the passage of anti-immigrant state laws in Arizona and Alabama, and successfully stopped such bills in states like Florida.
We defeated E-Verify—for now. We helped push Lou Dobbs off the air. And this year, we are making it clear to the GOP presidential candidates that their anti-immigrant extremist rhetoric will come with a price in November, when they find out just how many Latino voters care about immigration policy in swing states and and other places throughout the country.
Every day at America’s Voice, we hear incredible stories from the immigrants and new Americans who help make this country great. We hear the stories of their hopes and dreams, and we hear the stories of their fear and terror. In an era where Republicans can get away with comparing immigrants to feral hogs that should be gunned down by helicopter, sometimes the toughest part of the fight involves reminding Americans that immigrants are people, too.
At this point in a birthday celebration, a typical organization might hopefully salute “to another four years!” We here at America’s Voice, however, strive every day to work ourselves out of a job. The immigrants being harassed in Arizona can’t wait another four years. Neither can the families struggling to live without water in Alabama. We don’t want another four years. We want immigration reform now.
Thank you for taking a stand.