Week Ending October 3
This week in immigration reform: NCLR hosts a panel about Latinos and the November midterm election; NCLR posts another installment of the “Hanging in the Balance” blog series; National Journal publishes an op-ed by NCLR’s Charles Kamasaki; President Obama addresses immigration reform at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual gala.
–NCLR hosts panel discussion about the upcoming midterm election: NCLR convened a discussion to highlight the power of the Latino vote and the potential for Hispanic voters to decide close races. In a press statement , Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR said “There is a misconception that Latinos won’t matter this election cycle because it’s a midterm election and they are apathetic toward both parties. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We are continuing to grow our voting numbers in areas where critical races could be determined by less than a 1 percent margin of victory. How candidates engage in outreach toward our community and handle issues important to Latinos, such as immigration, will undoubtedly impact this high-stakes election cycle in which both parties are fighting for control of the Senate.” The panel was comprised of experts from NCLR, Latino Decisions, Voto Latino, and the Center for American Progress. Audio of the entire discussion is featured in NCLR’s recent blog post.
–NCLR continues ‘Hanging in the Balance’ series with the story of DACA recipient turned advocate: In our latest blog post, NCLR highlights the tale of Giancarlo Tello, a DACA recipient who came to the U.S. from Peru at age six. While growing up, Giancarlo took honors classes, played sports, and received good grades. He didn’t even know he was undocumented until his mother told him after he asked her for a ride to the DMV to get his driver’s permit. He continued to encounter other hurdles because of his status, especially when applying for college because he didn’t have a social security number. Giancarlo continued his pursuit to continue his education and began attending Bergen Community College, where he became involved in the New Jersey DREAM Act Coalition and earned an associate degree. He then enrolled at Rutgers University-Camden and continued advocating for DACA and a New Jersey state bill that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. Giancarlo urges President Obama to provide relief to other students and their families through executive action and highlights the importance of a strong Latino electorate, saying “Neither party should take Latinos for granted.”
–National Journal publishes an opinion piece by NCLR Senior Cabinet Advisor, Charles Kamasaki: In a new op-ed, titled “Critics Say Executive Action on Immigration Would Be Unprecedented. They Forget Their History.” Charles Kamasaki, examines past executive actions by presidents to alter the immigration process and notes that since the mid-1970s, presidential discretion has been exercised more than 20 times. He writes, “The record is clear: Presidents of both parties have used discretionary powers on multiple occasions to protect various groups from deportation for an enormously wide variety of reasons. Except for temporary conditions, Congress acted later—often years later—to ratify the president’s decisions.” A longer version of the piece, with endnotes, is available here.
–President Obama speaks at the annual Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala: President Obama was introduced at the CHCI gala by Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) who said “We look to you, Mr. President, for big, bold, unapologetic administrative relief for millions.” The president addressed executive action on immigration at this year’s CHCI gala, promising to act after the midterms but before the end of the year, according to a Washington Post article. President Obama recognized the frustration of the Latino community with his delay in relief and emphasized the need for Congressional action, as an administrative one would only be temporary and vulnerable under a new Administration. Thus, to ensure lasting reform, the President urged Hispanics to get out and vote, noting that only 48 percent of voters turned out in 2012, and saying “the clearest path to change is to change that number. Si, se puede … si votamos. Yes we can … if we vote.”