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Events This Week in Immigration: Condoleeza Rice, AFL-CIO in Vegas, Bibles and Badges, and DREAMers


condi riceAlong with the State of the Union address tonight and the Senate Judiciary Committee’s immigration hearing tomorrow, there’s a lot of activity as the broad coalition supporting citizenship expands — and momentum continues to grow. Here’s an update on what else has been happening this week in immigration reform:

  • Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has joined forces with former Governor of Mississippi Haley Barbour (R), former San Antonion mayor Henry Cisneros (D), and former Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell (D) to create a new bipartisan task force that will help define the contours of immigration reform.  The group will hold events, meet with lawmakers, and come up with their own policy proposals.  Right now, the four former officials say they agree that reform should address worker visas, border security, internal enforcement and the undocumented immigrants already in the United States.  Rice’s old boss, former President George W. Bush, was an advocate of immigration reform and supported a bill which would have granted Americans-in-waiting a path to citizenship.
  • The “Bibles, Badges, and Business” project of the National Immigration Forum officially launched yesterday, with leaders from the Texas Association of Business, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, and the National Immigration Forum joining top law enforcement officials to announce the alliance.  The group exists to underscore the broad depth of support that exists for immigration reform—including from the faith, law enforcement, and business communities.
  • Two Nevada unions—the Culinary Union and the Nevada State AFL-CIO—capitalized on the momentum created by President Obama when he gave a immigration speech in Las Vegas two weeks ago by rallying in support of a major immigration overhaul.  The AFL-CIO has 14 similar rallies scheduled in cities across the nation to encourage Congress to pass immigration reform.  The push began in Raleigh, North Carolina, and will include demonstrations in San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, and New York.
  • On a press call today, the DREAM Action Coalition and DREAMers from across key electoral states emphasized how much Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL, who has been tapped to give the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight) and the Republicans have to lose if they refuse to support immigration reform with a straightforward roadmap to citizenship.  As Cesar Vargas with the DREAM Action Coalition said, “Citizenship for undocumented immigrants and the Latino community is not an abstract policy. Citizenship for us is about keeping families together and fulfilling our responsibility to the country we call home. Senator Rubio, Rep. Labrador, and Republicans have not gotten the message – the American people, specially Latinos, voted for a path to citizenship that would bring families together not an unrealistic path to citizenship contingent on an amorphous concept such as a “secured border.”