En Español Know Your Rights
Source: Daily News
Subject: Strategic Policy Advocacy
Type: Media Coverage

Obama must follow vow to tackle immigration reform

It
is not a con job. But to an increasing number of people, President Obama’s
promise to tackle immigration reform during his first year in office is
beginning to look like one.

 


This
week Obama postponed – for the second time – a highly anticipated meeting with
congressional leaders that was supposed to start the immigration reform ball
rolling once and for all.

 


First
scheduled for June 8, the bipartisan meeting was moved to Wednesday because of
"scheduling conflicts." But once again it was canceled, and this time
there isn’t even a tentative date set.

 


The postponements were blamed on pressing concerns such
as the approval of billions for the Iraq
and Afghanistan
wars, and the need to push for economic, health care and energy reforms.

 


What
has become clear to many is that immigration reform is no longer – if it ever
was – at the top of Obama’s legislative agenda.

 


This
is not good news, and there is much disappointment and concern in immigrant
communities. Although there is no lack of faith in Obama’s intentions, there
also is growing awareness that waiting quietly and patiently for the White
House to act will not produce results.

 


"We
have to tell the President that he made a promise, and this is the time to
fulfill it," said Anna Dioguardi, director of community organizing and
development at Queens Community House in Jackson Heights.

 


Dioguardi
is a young, white and enthusiastic native New Yorker who on Tuesday afternoon
stood with about a dozen volunteers from a variety of community groups outside
the 90th St. No.
7 train station in Corona.
In very good Spanish, she urged passers-by – the majority of them Hispanic – to
get involved by calling the White House and demand it act decisively to achieve
comprehensive reform in 2009.

 


Dioguardi’s
group was one of eight others engaged in "subway actions" throughout
the five boroughs on Tuesday. Their objective was to sign up hundreds of New
Yorkers to a newly formed mobile action network that will be used to share
information and unite people across the country to work toward immigration
reform.

 


Groups
such as the New York Immigration Coalition,
Make
the Road NY
,
Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrants Rights, Cabrini Immigrant Services,
YKASEC-Empowering the Korean American Community and others that participated in
the "subway actions" promised a greater effort to mobilize people to
support the President and his promise to Hispanics.

 


"Join
the movement for immigration reform in 2009" read the leaflet the
activists handed out. It asked people to use their cell phones to become part
of the mobile action network by text messaging the word "justice" to
the number 69866. Spanish speakers can text the word "justicia."

  

"We
need hundreds of thousands of people," said Frances Liu of the New York
Immigration Coalition. "And we will get them with the mobile
network." Judging by the response the volunteers received Tuesday, Liu’s
prediction is probably on the money.

 


Also,
leaders of the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform
gathered to pray Wednesday for the President and Congress to take immediate
action, and that they show the wisdom and moral courage to enact humane
immigration reform in 2009.

 


No,
it is not a con job. But as weeks go by without action by the White House, the
President’s promise to tackle immigration reform in his first year in office
increasingly looks like one to more and more people. Hopefully the
twice-scrapped bipartisan meeting will finally take place and the immigration
reform will get rolling once and for all.