U.S. Immigration Reform: June 2009 Archives
I personally have been having trouble finding my voice with Obama. I don't think it's a secret that I have not been happy with his administration. Still, Obama hasn't completely sold migrants down the river, yet. There is still a chance he'll come through on his campaign pledge to "make it a top priority" in his first year as President. I will believe it when I see it. I haven't seen it yet, but Obama still has five months to prove otherwise.
There are two issues that migrant advocates have to face in trying to push for just and humane migration reform. The first issue is convincing politicians and the U.S. public that migration reform should be taken up in the first place, which has proven to be no small feat after the U.S. economy almost collapsed. The second issue is pushing the debate as far to the pro-migrant side as possible, so that when the legislative battle does begin, we have a good starting point unlike with the attempt to pass migration reform in 2007. Migrant advocates and allies have been doing a decent job with the first issue, but a horrible job with the second issue. I will discuss both in this post.
If you're on the Internet and you haven't heard of the DREAM Act, you're not doing it right. Seriously, just throw your computer out the window right now. Keeping your computer is not worth your money or your time...
If you're still here, I'll let you get away with watching this video:
Today, in one of the most impressive youth-led campaigns of the contemporary migrant rights movement, hundreds of youth from over 15 states will converge on Washington D.C. to demonstrate for the DREAM Act. For those who cannot make it solidarity actions will be planned in a dozen states. The National DREAM Act Graduation Day on June 23, 2009 "will underscore the importance of advancing the 'DREAM Act' and the 'American Dream Act' to give these youth a chance to attend college and pursue their goals."
Obama gives at least three misconceptions in this statement. First that there is a line, second that migrants should pay a penalty (as if they haven't already), and third that they don't pay taxes.
Last Friday, Mr. Obama brought up the topic at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and reminded the audience that he is in fact committed to reform. "For those who wish to become citizens," Mr. Obama said, "we should require them to pay a penalty and pay taxes, learn English, go to the back of the line behind those who played by the rules. That is the fair, practical and promising way forward." (link to LA Times article)
It's great that Obama is talking about comprehensive immigration reform now, but what is "the back of the line". So often this term is used and often those of us advocating for migrants ask what line are you talking about?
A lot is going on at the Reform Immigration For America Summit. I'm having trouble getting my bearings straight. Fortunately, I'm not alone in blogging all of this. You can follow along at both Imagine2050 and Standing FIRM. A must read blog post is definitely our own MamitaMala's at The Sanctuary. Twitter is also an excellent place to follow along.