After the victory of Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate special election Tuesday night, the expectations on a fast-track health care reform as sought by President Obama, have faded out for many who also forecast –according to set legislative priorities- the immigration reform will be less likely to happen this year. However, a coalition of immigration advocates assures that the results of the special election will have little effect on the prospects for immigration reform in 2010.
Leaders of the immigration reform movement across the country discussed the diagnosis for comprehensive reform on the aftermath of the special election in Massachusetts, which cedes the Senate’s seat of prominent Democrat Ted Kennedy, to Brown, changing the equation in the probable votes in favor of pending legislation. Reform Immigration FOR America campaign, the National Council of La Raza, Service Employees International Union, America’s Voice, and the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform- a business advocacy organization, participated in the discussion via conference call.
The group coincided that voters sent a message to Washington to let them know they expect leadership from elected officials and that they are not doing their job. In a joint written declaration the coalition stated:
The economic crisis is first and foremost on everyone’s mind. The Congress should act quickly to address the economic crisis and to create jobs. Fixing our broken immigration system is key to fixing our economy because we can’t build a strong economy on top of a broken immigration system. Comprehensive immigration reform will add 1.5 trillion dollars to the U.S. economy, drive up wages for all workers, support nearly a million jobs, and increase tax revenues. If we want to fix our economy we must fix our broken immigration system.”
Locally, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) considered that Immigration reform is a national priority which should be marked by bipartisan support, starting with Brown’s victory as the beginning of efforts for doing what’s right and good for America. The following are comments by Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA.
On Tuesday, the American people reminded Congress that its job is to seek solutions to our nation’s tough problems. Mr. Brown’s victory in Massachusetts means the work Congress must do on issues such as comprehensive immigration reform, the environment, and health care reform must be supported by members of both parties if it is to be effective. No party can now claim exemptions to doing what the American people has mandated it to do.
Immigration reform is a national priority that has historically received bipartisan support. Poll after poll suggests the American people are ready to see an immigration system overhaul advance in 2010 as part of our nation’s strategy towards economic recovery. Comprehensive immigration reform will add 1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, drive up wages for all workers, and support nearly a million jobs. No economic recovery can truly take place on top of a broken and inhumane immigration system.
As part of the national Reform Immigration FOR America campaign, CHIRLA continues to organize the community fostering political power, engaging in dialogue with a wide range of communities, and encouraging civic engagement. Latinos and new immigrants voted in 2008 for candidates who promised to work on fixing the broken immigration system. We will keep the Obama Administration and the Congress to their word and remember their willingness to act when we go to the polls in November 2010.
Mr. Brown’s victory marks the beginning of bipartisanship efforts that can ultimately benefit all Americans. Too much is at stake when Congress delays and lacks the courage to do what is right and what is good for America. 2010 is the year for immigration reform.”