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  • Edición impresa de Octubre 1, 2013

 

By Zulma Prieto

OCTOBER 5, DAY OF ACTION!

To keep the pressure on Congress, pro-reform activists are planning Oct. 5 rallies and protests throughout the nation to urge House lawmakers to act. Tens of thousands of protesters also are expected to rally on the National Mall in Washington on Oct. 8.

“We will see an outpouring from the community demanding a serious effort by Republicans to get immigration reform moving in the House,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force. “I think the call will be so loud it will be hard to continue stalling.”

Activists on both sides of the issue agree that Immigration-reform efforts are on the verge of failing if the House does not act by the end of the year. “We really need the House to take action to have floor votes this fall,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigrant rights group. “If they don’t, it’s going to be -- not impossible -- but much tougher as we move into an election year.”

Immigration reform supporters won a major victory in late June when the Senate passed a sweeping bipartisan bill that would double the number of Border Patrol agents on the Southwest border and provide a 13-year pathway to citizenship for the nearly 12 million undocumented immigrants estimated to be living in the United States

The bill was supported by a coalition of union and business leaders, Catholics and evangelical Protestants, and farmers and farm workers. It also included big high-tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel and Facebook.

A bipartisan “Gang of Seven” lawmakers that was supposed to be working on legislation has largely disbanded and tired of waiting for House GOP leaders to act, Democrats have begun to offer their own bills.

Before such inaction, reform advocates hope that the October 5 march, will gather momentum from the growing frustration over the slow pace of action of the House, where immigration reform has stalled since the Senate passed its own bill in June that calls for billions in additional border-security spending along with a pathway to citizenship. The marches are also intended to remind lawmakers of the growing power of Latino voters.

Reform advocates have scheduled marches and similar events in at least 90 cities. They expect tens of thousands of people to participate nationwide in the so-called National Day of Action.

“The reason you are seeing a ratcheting up of pressure is that most people believe the window of opportunity in the House is late October or November,” after the debt and spending debates subside, said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration-reform advocacy group in Washington, D.C. “We think there is going to be an opportunity to get some action.”

Many immigration-watchers are now looking ahead to 2014, 2015, even as far off as 2017, when the timing for a comprehensive immigration overhaul might be better. And if immigration reform fails there could be a Plan B which would call for the White House to extend administrative relief offering the federal deferred action program to a larger number of immigrants. Currently it targets young immigrants under 30.  Deferred action  wouldn’t legalize their status per se, but it would let them temporarily live and work in the U.S. legally with protection from deportation.

Find out if there is a local march on October 5. Participate to be part of the solution!

 

 


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