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The Federal Government is Shut Down; The Immigration Reform Movement is Not

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minnesotaPolicy Victories in California and Powerful Rallies Across the Country Underscore Growing Strength of Immigration Movement 

With the federal government shut down and Washington characterized by dysfunction and policy stalemates, the immigration reform movement serves as a welcome contrast.  Just this past weekend alone, the immigration movement achieved important policy victories in California while flexing its growing power at pro-reform rallies in over 40 states throughout the nation.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice: :

While the federal government may be shut down, the immigration reform movement is on the move.  Instead of inertia in Washington, California is embodying a new vision for immigration policy.  And while the Golden State may be ahead of the curve, the scores of pro-reform rallies this weekend show that the immigration movement is growing in strength and support throughout the country.

  • Major Pro-Immigrant Victories in California:  In California, Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed into law a series of pro-immigrant policies that serve as both good public policy and a stark contrast to the status quo and legislative inaction in Washington.  As the Los Angeles Times described, “On a day when immigrant-rights activists nationwide rallied for action from Washington, Gov. Jerry Brown put California at the vanguard of change, signing sweeping laws aimed at speeding the assimilation of those in the country illegally.  Brown signed eight bills Saturday, including one prohibiting local law enforcement officials from detaining immigrants longer than necessary for minor crimes so that federal immigration authorities can take custody of them.  Under the so-called Trust Act, immigrants in this country illegally would have to be charged with or convicted of a serious offense to be eligible for a 48-hour hold and transfer to U.S. immigration authorities for possible deportation.”

As Governor Brown stated:

While Washington waffles on immigration, California’s forging ahead…I’m not waiting.

The New York Times editorialized:

If the goal is to lessen the problems caused when a huge population lives outside the law, while protecting civil rights and public safety, then California — home to an estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants — is setting a good example…Together the bills put California far on the leading edge of expanding immigrant rights while finding humane, sensible solutions to a problem Washington refuses to solve.

  • Rallies Across the Nation Underscore Growing Power of Pro-Reform Movement: This past weekend, the National Day of Action for Dignity & Respect generated 183 major mobilization efforts, rallies, vigils, pilgrimages, and direct actions in over 40 states to call on Congress to stop the partisan logjam and pass immigration reform for 11 million aspiring citizens in America (check out this recap for more).  This weekend’s events mark the beginning of the immigrant rights movement’s escalation fight and underscore the power and growing strength of the pro-reform movement.
  • Washington to Witness Strength of Immigration Movement at Tuesday Pro-Reform Rally: The strength of the pro-reform movement will further be on display tomorrow – Tuesday, October 8th – at a major pro-reform rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC starting at 12:30 PM Eastern.  Tens of thousands of immigration reform supporters will be in attendance, representing the breadth and diversity of support for immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

Said Sharry:

The immigration reform movement will keep growing in strength and size until we achieve reform.  Our movement is relentless, tired of excuses, and ready to hold accountable those who stand in the way.