By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”
Standing in front of hundreds of thousands of people, with millions more watching throughout the country and across the globe, President Obama once again reminded us that there will be no more stalling, that the time to pass comprehensive immigration reform is now. The journey so far has had its ups and downs. As a community, Latinos were unquestionably frustrated when the promise of immigration reform slipped through the president’s fingers in his first term. At the same time, Mr. Obama has proven himself an ally, fighting against anti-immigrant state laws and granting deferred action to thousands of hopeful dreamers.
But with a second term comes a renewed faith that we will see this through. In his inaugural address, it was no mistake that the president mentioned the word “together” not once, not twice, but seven times. If there has been one thing lacking in Washington over the past four years, it has been a willingness to work together—and both parties share in the blame.
It would be wise for our elected officials to remember that solutions are found in bipartisanship and compromise, and the only way for our nation to move forward is to work together.
Our leaders have a lot on their plates in the coming months, and immigration reform is the main course. But thanks in part to the strong Hispanic turnout in the 2012 elections, it looks as if both parties are finally ready to come to the table and deliver meaningful reform that will once and for all address the deep problems with our immigration system.
We cannot let this momentum die. It’s not going to be easy, and it would be naïve for either side to think that they are going to walk away 100% satisfied. But this is a real opportunity for Congress and the Obama administration to show the American people that they can work together and deliver the solutions that this country needs to get back on track.
The saying may be cliché, but it’s wholly appropriate in this case—united we stand, divided we fall. There will be tough legislative battles ahead on everything from the federal budget to gun violence, and they will test whether our elected officials truly plan to put partisan politics aside and do what’s best for the economy and the American people.