New York immigrant families and advocates threw House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Monday the kind of welcoming party he so richly deserves: They rallied outside a fund-raiser he was hosting in Manhattan to protest his insulting indifference to the suffering of immigrant families and his unconscionable passivity on immigration reform.
“With a bi-partisan bill having passed the Senate, the House’s lack of action is the only thing between immigrant communities and the reform they need,” said Javier Valdés, Make the Road New York executive director, that organized the protest. Boehner has blocked the immigration reform legislation from reaching a vote in the House of Representatives.
Yet Latino voters, who overwhelmingly helped Obama get elected — twice — are no longer willing to blame only the GOP for the immigration disaster and give the President a free pass.
“What does the Obama administration have to show for themselves? Two million deportations and 400,000 immigrant prisoners,” said Roberto Lovato, co-founder of Presente.org, an online grassroots organization, expressing the feelings of a rapidly multiplying number of Latinos.
Last Tuesday President Obama signed an eminently fair executive order on equal pay for women for which he deserves to be praised.
But the President’s decision, worthy as it was, makes one wonder once again why he can use his executive privilege on some issues but adamantly maintains he doesn’t have the power to stop the deportations even after they have reached the 2 million mark.
The fact that very few people in an increasingly exasperated immigrant community believe him is becoming a huge problem not only for the President but also for his party.
It is that lack of trust that is fueling the activism of thousands of immigrants who, under the banner “Not one more deportation” have been taking to the streets for over a week already participating in almost 100 protest actions around the country. “The idea is to pressure Obama to use his executive power to stop deportations and extend DACA beyond the DREAMers to include their parents and other immigrants,” said Francisco Pacheco, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) East Coast coordinator.
That’s why the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform brought together at the Community Church of NY, 40 E. 35th St. in Manhattan a group of religiously diverse leaders who, on Wednesday, issued a call to welcome “the stranger” and for the faith community commitment to the reform movement.
And that’s why New Yorkers, fed up with inaction in Congress, gathered by the hundreds in Foley Square on Thursday as part of a National Day of Action for Immigration Reform — coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition — to demand Congress vote on an immigration bill that keeps families together, provides a pathway to citizenship, and brings fairness to our immigration system.
The thousands of families who have been torn apart by Obama’s ruthless deportation policy cannot — and should not — wait any longer for an immigration reform that, at this point, is no more than pie in the sky.
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