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In a new analysis in the New York Times, Julia Preston captures how the immigration reform movement has emerged as a relentless force that is prepared to hold all parties accountable in 2014.
As Preston writes in the New York Times:
An immigration overhaul has seemed close to death in the House more than once in recent months. But even though Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio has not found a strategy to corral a majority of his caucus behind legislation, a unified Democratic minority and an array of persistent supporters of a comprehensive bill have made it difficult for Republican leaders to sweep the issue aside.
On Thursday, more than 1,000 advocates fanned out through the House at midday, occupying the offices of more than 170 Republican and four Democratic lawmakers for about an hour.
At the offices of Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the second-ranking House Republican, half a dozen protesters sat on the carpet, chanting and praying …
… further delay is becoming awkward for the speaker. A Democratic bill in the House that mirrors the Senate’s has more than 190 sponsors, including three Republicans. Representative Xavier Becerra of California, the chairman of the Democratic caucus, said 26 Republicans had expressed support for that bill’s approach, which he said was enough to pass the measure if Mr. Boehner allowed a vote.
Democrats and immigration advocates are planning to press Mr. Boehner to do so.
Preston also captures how yesterday’s actions are the capstone of a year that demonstrates the relentless organizing and activism of the pro-reform movement:
This year, advocacy groups have held marches, prayer vigils, sit-ins in Washington and town hall meetings in Republican districts. They have organized mock citizenship ceremonies, delivered turkeys to House lawmakers and attracted a tech-savvy group with a competition billed as a ‘hack-athon.’
Five people fasted for 22 days in the tent on the Mall, consuming only water, and dozens of others held shorter fasts. The fasters ended their protest on Thursday, taking down the tent.
As House members prepared to leave town, the activists did not seem discouraged by the lack of results from their efforts, which they said had expanded the reach of their movement. Although some Republicans expressed irritation at the tactics, advocates said they could expect more of the same next year.
Many groups said they would also pivot to an electoral strategy in preparation for the midterm elections next November, in which they hope to replicate at least some of the big increase in Latino and immigrant voter turnout seen in 2012.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Pundits who have declared immigration reform dead are making a prediction, not stating a fact. The House GOP hasn’t gotten to no on immigration reform, they just haven’t figured out yet how to get to yes. That’s why the future of reform will be decided in 2014. And we’re optimistic because our movement is growing stronger every day and refuses to be denied. Reform is a matter of when, not if.