Comprehensive Immigration Reform a Priority as Republicans and Democrats Alike Heed Mounting Calls for Solutions

Marlene Sept. 7 Rally (20)After Latino leaders gathered in December and called for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, a rapidly growing number of individuals and groups across America echoed their calls for reforms that will help families, workers, and the economy.  Politicians from both parties—heeding the critical role of the powerful Latino electorate in reelecting President Obama and noting Hispanics’ wholesale rejection of Governor Romney and his adoption of the “self-deportation” ideas of the fringe right—have recognized that the time to pass comprehensive immigration reform is now.  The American public long ago came to this realization, and in poll after poll they support the president and Congress moving to fix our broken immigration system by providing the 11 million Americans-in-waiting with a road to become legal residents and eventually earn citizenship.

Republicans and Democrats alike are finally acknowledging the public’s demands.  Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and John Boehner are leading the GOP in advancing comprehensive immigration reform.  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa traveled to Washington, DC to press for reform, and Republican Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen hosted immigration reform forums in South Florida, with Mr. Diaz-Balart promising to work hard to get solutions from Congress this year.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has identified immigration reform as a top priority.  At the state level, where only two years ago anti-immigration bills were a dime a dozen, Republican legislators have resisted passing immigration legislation by arguing that comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level is needed.  Latino voters announced in November that immigration reform cannot wait, and the political powers are now not only listening, but acting rapidly.

Hispanics are front and center in the national push for Congress to finally pass long-needed solutions to fix a system that serves no one well.  As we push for enactment of an immigration reform bill, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) is joining with its network of nearly 300 Affiliates across the county to gather the strength of the Latino community by conducting voter registration and citizenship programs, informing Hispanics of congressional action on immigration reform, and uniting to educate our legislators on the issues most urgent to Latino voters.

Two Communities Finding Common Ground

By David Castillo III, New Media Manager

Union=Fuerza Latino Institute

In 2012, Latinos voted in record numbers and provided decisive victories all over the country. It’s safe to say that we have arrived, politically speaking. In recognition of this power, we have mobilized in myriad ways to make it known to other that our community is a force to be reckoned with. It seems other communities have taken note.

Consider the LGBT rights movement. Like others, the LGBT community has realized the importance and the value of having Latinos on their side in the fight for equality. Outreach has been made to find ways to work together and NCLR is proud to be joining in the fight.

One place where this outreach is evident is at the 2013 Creating Change conference in Atlanta this week. Creating Change is the premier conference on LGBT equality hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. This year, for the first time ever, Creating Change is hosting a Latino Institute, dedicated to exploring the intersection of the two communities and to finding ways our communities can work together.

Judging by the standing-room only crowd, it’s clear that LGBT Latinos are also very interested in having these conversations. Topics ranging from marriage to immigration to family acceptance and the transgendered community were discussed at length today. The Latinos present understand the importance of this day-long gathering, but it’s important you understand why, too.

  • The LGBT community has had tremendous success in advocacy. Their efforts have resulted in legislative victories that are changing people’s lives for the better. Working with them and in tandem, our communities can learn from each other which can bolster our ability to be a truly positive force for change.
  • LGBT Latinos live at the intersection of two communities. They deserve the support of an organization that represents more than 300 community based organizations and should ensure that all Latinos, regardless of who they love, are protected from civil rights abuses that demean their existence.
  • Immigration reform. The LGBT rights movement has identified it as an important policy issue that affects not just gay Latinos, but all LGBT people. Presenting a united front with the LGBT community can only enhance our work to finally get immigration reform passed.

Check out Daniel Hernandez, our youngest LGBT elected official, talk about why he thinks it’s so important for the Latino and LGBT communities to work together.

So where do we go from here? That’s what we’re here to find out. At least on the immigration front, we have an idea. Not only is talk of reform a big part of the Latino Institute, but the Task Force has also made it a prominent part of the entire conference in general. This is a very positive move for the Task Force and we intend to continue the conversation with them and anyone else who wants to work together on getting this done. Will you join us to create change?

Don’t Believe the Detractors: We Can Fix Immigration Now

You’ve undoubtedly heard by now about the president’s plan to push for immigration reform in the first year of his second term.  This is a fast-moving train, to be sure, but members of both political parties have already indicated that they are ready to bring something forward.  For the first time in more than a decade, it looks like we might pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Detractors of reform, however, have recently started claiming that Congress must “get its priorities straight” and focus instead on shoring up the U.S. economy.  The idea is that the immigration fight (and a host of other issues that the president has prioritized) is not one we can afford to wage at this point.  It should be put on hold…again.

Naturally, we disagree.  If American families can focus on more than one issue at a time, so can Congress.  We sent our very own Clarissa Martínez-De Castro to Thom Hartmann’s The Big Picture to drive this point home.  Representing the opposition was conservative columnist David Selig.  The interview is tense at times but well worth watching.  The segment in question begins at 15:00 and lasts about ten minutes.

The Immigrant Experience as Told Through Pop Music

Happy Saturday!

Immigration reform is kicking into high gear and for the first time in more than five years, our leaders in Washington are talking seriously about making reform a reality.

In that spirit, we offer you a new video from the recording artist, IMMI featuring Gray Devio. “Immigrant” sends a powerful message about who we are in America and why people from around the world flock to be part of our grand experiment.