While much of the Beltway coverage of immigration reform focuses on the latest timing excuses from House Republicans to justify their continued inaction, the pro-reform movement continues to escalate.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
What will ultimately get immigration reform over the finish line is outside pressure, not insider conventional wisdom. We are growing stronger as a movement every day and will continue to ratchet up pressure until we achieve reform. We continue to view immigration reform as a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if,’ because of the strength of our movement, the power of our message, and the political and demographic realities advancing by the day.
See below for reminders of why reform is ultimately inevitable:
- Fasting to Raise the Moral Imperative of Reform: Today, dozens of faith, immigrant rights, and labor organizations are announcing their own fasting on behalf of immigration reform – groups involved include the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Church World Service, Faith in Public Life, The PICO Network, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Alliance for Citizenship, NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, Sojourners, Franciscan Action Network, and dozens of other groups. This national fast is echoed by a series of local fasts taking place across the country. In addition, as Fox News Latino describes, “Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, one of the nation’s most prominent Latino religious leaders, has subsisted on just sparkling water and broth for one week as he continues on a hunger strike to press Congress to pass an immigration reform bill…. ‘It’s an exercise in prophetic activism, for the purpose of raising the moral conscience, or resurrecting the moral conscience, to pass immigration reform.’”
- Children Arrive in Washington, Provide Personal Reminder of Costs of Inaction & Importance of Family Unity: The Center for Community Change’s (CCC) “Keeping Families Together: Youth in Action” campaign comes to Washington this week, as fifty children will share personal testimonials about how the broken immigration status quo is devastating for families like theirs. As local media coveragehighlights, many of the children are speaking on behalf of mixed status families who are now separated due to deportations and the inability of Congress to pass reform. In a new column, legendary children’s advocate Marian Wright Edelman writes about the children’s arrival in Washington as part of a larger call for Congress to pass immigration reform. Writes Edelman, “Nine-year-old Jaime Gordillo Villa was born in the United States and is a good student who has gotten awards for both good grades and behavior. He wants to be a lawyer when he grows up to help immigrants and others who need help. He says he doesn’t want people to suffer for things they didn’t do. His family knows about suffering since coming to the United States to start a new life. Jaime adored his big brother. They studied and played soccer and video games together. But when his brother was detained by immigration officials his family had to spend so much money on lawyers to try to keep him here that they lost their home. And then his brother was deported anyway. Jaime’s afraid his mother or father might be next if they are caught by the police and he might lose them too…”
- Local Actions Targeting Republican House Members Escalate: In-district actions and pressure against key Republican Members continues unabated. After last week’s civil disobedience in the office of Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), see recap here, the pressure is escalating against a range of other targets. For example, the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes in a piece titled, “Heck targeted on immigration reform,” of a range of efforts pressuring Reps. Joe Heck (R-NV); the Pueblo Chieftain writes in an articletitled “Tipton Defends Immigration Record” of tough questions facing Scott Tipton (R-CO) from pro-reform town hall attendees; and local activists are holding daily prayer vigils outside of Michael Grimm’s (R-NY) office all week long.
- DREAMers Ramp Up Pressure on Capitol Hill: Next week, over 200 DREAMers will flood Capitol Hill to ramp up the pressure on Congress to act on immigration reform. Complementing the direct action on the Hill will be an United We Dream-led effort to drive 1,100 calls to the office of Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) – one call for each of the 1,100 deportations taking place every day. The calls will urge Speaker Boehner to schedule a vote on immigration reform.
- Republican Polling Shows Where Constituents in GOP Districts Really Stand on Immigration: A new poll sponsored by FWD.us and conducted by Basswood Research and GOP pollster Jon Lerner finds that “a majority of likely voters in 20 Republican-represented swing congressional districts support the broad outlines of comprehensive immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship,”per Elise Foley at Huffington Post. The article also describes the poll findings that 71% support an “earned pathway to citizenship” and that “likely voters in the 20 congressional districts want to see movement on immigration, with 70 percent saying it is ‘very important’ to deal with the issue and another 23 percent saying it is ‘somewhat important.’ A strong majority — 77 percent — said they would prefer even an imperfect solution to nothing at all.”