by Moses Apsan, Esq.
Tens of thousands of immigrant rights advocates are flowing into Washington, D.C.,to join an expected 100,000 rallying in support of comprehensive immigration reform which would create a legal pathway for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, simplify the process to bring their children and spouses from their homeland, and stop the exploitation of illegal immigrants in the workplace .
Today’s rally takes place three years after a previous call for reform by immigrant rights groups rallied in 150 cities across the nation, from New York to Los Angeles.
Since then, the immigration reform debate fell to a lower political tier as the economy and heath care issues took over. Movement towards a final reolution of the healthcare bill is coming to a head today and the healthcare issue may soon be moot. The economy has already taken as slight turn upwards and immigration reform, after waiting in line for decades will finally have its required audience.
Reform Immigration for America Campaign,a Washington-based coalition of immigrants’ right groups leads the rally, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. Spokesman for the campaign Shuya Ohno, expects more than 700 immigrant groups from 49 states to participate. During the presidential campaign of 2008 many of these same immigrants turned out in droves sweeping Obama into office.
People from all walks of life, religious and political views arriving from the four corners of America are attending the rally. Even Native American groups such as the Maya K’iche, are transporting almost 50 people to Washington D.C. from New Bedford, Connecticut . Last Sunday they met other Mayan Indians to discuss their efforts for legislation that would keep their family groups intact. It's difficult to believe that the immigration laws are so broken that even Native Americans want them fixed.
Consider the power these immigrants. It is massive: there are somewhere between 11 million to 20 million illegal immigrants and millions more when you consider family members. And millions have already became U.S. citizens which carries the power to vote. Looking squarely at these numbers, it is evident that Hispanics are the nation's largest minority. In fact there are over 40 million Hispanics in the U.S.
(Comprehensive immigration reform is the only logical and acceptable solution to stop the growing discontent many Americans feel as their family structure is destroyed by immigration laws that do not work).
The timing for such an overhaul couldn't be better. Assuming the results of today's vote on healthcare reform resolves that issue, there would be nothing better for the president and the democratic party to move aggressively and quickly with immigration reform. If they are up to it, and are able to place a bill on the president's desk before the November election, it would substantially guarantee another term for Obama, re-election for democratic members of Congress and a continuation of the demise of the Republican party as we know them today.
If on the other hand, Republicans join in on a bill for immigration reform and make it truly a bi-partisan effort then they stand a chance to come back in 2012 and be the party that Ronald Reagan envisioned. Ronald Reagan, an advocate for immigration reform, who signed into law the Amnesty of 1986, said in his farewell message to the nation “I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”