CHN: New Push for Immigration Reform on the Horizon
Thousands of advocates from across the country converged on the West Capitol Lawn on October 13 for a rally and vigil in support of humane immigration policies. Many of those present, families, veterans and clergy, took part in the Families United/Familias Unidas series of interfaith vigils held around the country earlier in the year. They gathered to meet with Members of Congress and remind legislators of the urgent need to fix our current immigration laws.
Upon entering office, President Obama promised to tackle immigration reform during his first year in the White House. However, with health reform dominating the legislative calendar this year there has been little time for some of the President’s other priority issues. In August, President Obama admitted that in all likelihood it would not be until early next year when immigration reform would really begin to gain traction.
Advocates and immigrant rights leaders continue to urge the Administration and Congress take up the issue as early as possible. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), an ardent supporter of immigration reform who for the last year has been touring the country documenting how families and citizens have been harmed by our outdated immigration laws, will likely be the first to answer their call. At the rally he announced that he will introduce a bill in the coming weeks and outlined his principles for comprehensive and humane immigration reform, which include:
- A pathway to legalization for undocumented workers, farm workers and students;
- Border and interior enforcement that is professional, effective and humane;
- Worker protections;
- Verification systems;
- Family unity; and
- Immigrant integration.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will lead the reform effort in the Senate. He has also promised to introduce legislative language this fall.