Why Tennessee Needs Immigration Reform

This is a guest blog post by Shawn Roberson, Coordinator of Advocacy, Policy & Civic Engagement, Latino Memphis, NCLR Affiliate

ShawnRobersonLatinoMemphisCapitolOn October 29, I found myself walking through the halls of the Longworth House Office building in Washington, D.C.  Why did I leave home in Memphis and come to the Capitol at this time? It certainly wasn’t for a vacation on the balmy banks of the Potomac.  Instead, I came to D.C. to meet with my member of Congress – Representative Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) – and to tell him that Latino Memphis and its partners in the faith and business communities want him to tell House leadership that the time for considering immigration reform legislation is now.

Over these past several months Latino Memphis and its allies have worked to make immigration reform a reality, employing a variety of different methods to deliver a consistent message to our representatives: Memphis needs immigration reform that reunites families, protects workers, and provides the 11 million aspiring Americans in the United States with a road to earn the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. 

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Preparing for my Capitol Hill visit w/NCLR staffer, Laura Vazquez
Preparing for my Capitol Hill visit w/NCLR staffer, Laura Vazquez

We’ve set up phonebanks to make calls to our representatives and senators, met with lawmakers and their staff, wrote letters to our local papers, talked about the need for immigration reform on local news stations, and kept up the pressure on Congress.  This past June, our hard work was rewarded with the passage of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill.  Now, after months of delay and inaction on the part of the House, we’re ramping up our efforts.  Our families and communities cannot continue waiting for the House to consider reform legislation. That’s why I traveled to D.C. to meet with my representative this past Tuesday.

I came out of the meeting more confident that we can persuade Rep. Fincher to do the right thing on immigration reform.   That said, I’m not going to let up on reminding him that we want reform to get a vote in the House – and neither should you.  We didn’t get this far because of Congress acting on its own initiative.  We’re within sight of immigration reform because we have never ceased telling our representatives in Congress that it’s time to pass immigration reform.   More than ever, the time for reform is now.  Make sure your member of Congress knows.

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