Monday, January 12, 2009

Immigration Change Some Can Believe In

(Eleventh in Border Lines series on the Movement for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.) 

The leaders of the immigrant-rights movement are once again mobilizing in support of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). The same figures that created the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CCIR) in 2004 are now organizing to move a future CIR bill – as yet not introduced or even proposed – through Congress in late 2009 and early 2010. More than sixty reporters participated Jan. e in a briefing via conference call – titled “A Movement for Reform, Making Immigration Reform Happen with the new President and Congress” -- sponsored by the National Immigration Forum. 

The featured presenters were Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, Janet Murguia, president of National Council of La Raza; Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, and John Wilhelm, president of Unite Here. 

 If we are to believe the directors of the National Immigration Forum, America’s Voice, and National Council of La Raza, CIR is around the corner in the Obama administration. However, the past political and analytical failures of this same circle of immigrant-rights groups – to say nothing of any more measured evaluation of the country’s economic and political realities -- leave plenty of room for skepticism. Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, told reporters that “2009 will be the year for immigration reform.” 

According to Noorani:
"At this moment we are on the cusp of a sea change in the United States of America, and I think it is fair to say that this sea change that we’re about to see is due in large part to the power and the vitality of the immigrant and Hispanic votes."
Certainly the country needs a sensible and sustainable immigration reform. But these DC groups seem more interested in appealing to their own circumscribed constituencies than reaching out to America with a persuasive pro-immigration message and political strategy.

Read entire TransBorder commentary

(Next in Border Lines' CIR Series: Immigrant Principles of Immigration Reform.)
Photo: Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice


nezua said...

This is a valuable distinction for strategy. Yet, it is easily explained philosophically in that these groups do not draw the distinction beween Us and Other that your writing presupposes. In fact that is a core belief that informs much of the work done in this area: that this line is not so bright as many make it; that we all began as immigrants (or invaders, or indigenous!), and that this 'us' that is U.S. is always in this flux; that this harsh line insisted up by many, yet not evident when you examine our families and realities, is used more often than not to level harsh policies that are easier to swallow when on "those other people." For some, it is much easier of course to see them as "those other people."

But again, I agree it is smart to know how to fashion which conversation for what effect and which venue at what time, etc.

sarrbear said...

Dear Border Lines,

The blogosphere is buzzing. We are all anticipating the historical moment where Barack Obama will take office next week. January 20th will usher in a New Day for America. For many this day will also renew hope for Just and Humane Immigration Reform.

Now is our time to take action. We must celebrate this renewed hope and reaffirm our commitment to winning the change our country needs.

In Washington, DC on the first day of the new administration we will hold a day of ACTION for immigrants’ rights. This is history in the making and we need you to be a part of it.

• CONNECT: Link to on your site
• DRIVE TRAFFIC: Include our button to “Join the Movement” towards Just and Humane Immigration Reform on your site (attached)
• SPREAD THE WORD: Post about the January 21st day of action and the hope for immigration reform

January 21st will be a New Day for Immigration in this country, but I need your help to build the momentum we need for change.

Visit for more information about the action and to join the movement. Please let me know if you need any more information or have any questions about the Action.

In solidarity,
Sarah Regenspan