Week Ending November 15
This week in immigration reform: despite reports that immigration reform is dead, lawmakers and advocates continue to push House leadership to act on reform; Latino groups deliver thousands of postcards to Congress and remind lawmakers why veterans need immigration reform; and NCLR, its Affiliates, and partner organizations continue fighting for reform by driving calls into to the offices of House leadership, meeting with members of Congress, and marching for reform. NCLR staff kept the community informed as always this week, with staff quoted in stories in Univision, La Opinión, Governing Magazine, and Las Américas Newspaper.
—Immigration reform alive and well, as House members and advocates refuse to cease pushing for reform. Despite reports in the media that immigration reform is dead, members of Congress and immigration advocates continued fighting for reform this week, refusing to accept any excuses from House leadership for further delay on reform that will reinvigorate the economy, keep families together, and that business, faith, labor, and a majority of the American public strongly support.
A group of House lawmakers took to the floor this Wednesday Nov. 13th and shared stories of immigrant veterans and military families who would benefit from Congress passing immigration reform. Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Marc Veasey (D-Texas), and Pete Gallego (D-Texas) were among the lawmakers who participated.
Meanwhile, freshman Democrats in the House held a press conference on Wednesday, Nov. 13th. Led by Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Reps. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Steve Horsford (D-Nev.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), and Mark Takano (D-Calif.), among others, pointed out that they and their freshman colleagues were sent to Washington to work and fix problems; that passing immigration reform, which would both fix our broken immigration system and give our still-struggling economy a shot in the arm, is a clear win-win; and that Congress still has six more weeks of work to act on immigration reform before the holidays arrive.
Also on Wednesday morning, two teenagers approached Speaker Boehner and asked him to imagine what it would be like to be separated from his family, and to get to work on passing immigration reform. Boehner responded that it wouldn’t be easy, but that he’s been clear since the day after the 2012 elections “that it’s time to get this done.” Later that day, however, the Speaker told reporters at a press conference that he has no intention of ever going to conference with the bipartisan Senate immigration bill S. 744. See NCLR’s response to the Speaker’s comments here.
NCLR Affiliate Make the Road New York joined with the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC), the SEIU, the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, and Sojourners to launch the “Fast for Families” campaign this Wednesday Nov. 13. Representatives from each group will fast from food and drink and remain camped in front of the Capitol until Congress passes immigration reform legislation.
Finally, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) told reporters this Thursday that he knows of three more Republican lawmakers who will sign on to the House immigration bill HR 15 as soon as this week. He also said that he has a list of from 40 to 45 House Republicans who he will be bringing on board to support action on immigration reform.
—Latino groups remind Congress why veterans need immigration reform. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) delivered thousands of Veterans Day postcards from Latino constituents to Congress this Tuesday Nov. 12, capping off an earlier postcard drop to reach a total of nearly 15,000 postcards delivered to Congress urging members to act now on immigration reform. The postcards – many from veterans themselves – asked Congress to act on immigration reform that will allow immigrant veterans and their families to earn the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
NCLR proudly joined Tuesday’s efforts by dropping off several hundred Veterans Day postcards to House members from their constituents.
NCLR and Affiliates in action
- California: NCLR Affiliate TODEC Legal Center, responding to Speaker Boehner’s comments on Wednesday that he has no intention of going to conference with the Senate’s bipartisan immigration reform bill S. 744, gathered community leaders together to drive phone calls into the Speaker’s office on Thursday, Nov. 14.
TODEC also held a march in Perris, Calif. calling for action on immigration reform.
- Nebraska: Emerging Latino Communities (ELC) grantee Centro Hispano Comunitario de Nebraska met with staff of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) last Wednesday Nov. 7 to urge the Congressman to work on passing immigration reform legislation.
- North Carolina: Following their meeting last week with Rep. Holding, members of NCLR Affiliate El Pueblo were featured in Spanish language papers and on the social media of Spanish language press.
NCLR Affiliate Latin American Coalition, after rallying for reform outside of Rep. Robert Pittenger’s (R-NC) office last Thursday Nov. 7, prayed the rosary in the office of Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) this Thursday, urging the Congressman to work for reform in the House.