Immigrant rights organization to put pressure on congress
February 14, 2013 · Print This Article
An immigrant lobbying organization announced today they will begin a campaign to put pressure on Congress to pass immigration reform which provides a practical pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally.
The DREAM action coalition which advocated for President Obama during the general elections announced in a press release a plan to put pressure on U.S. Fla Sen. Marco Rubio, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama to make sure comprehensive immigration reform is not held up due to politics.
“We don’t want a pathway to citizenship to be held back by border security< said Cesar Vargas of the DREAM action coalition. “We want to hold our elected officials accountable.”
Tuesday, President Obama gave his State of the Union speech and Sen. Rubio gave the Republican rebuttal. Both elected officials spoke on the economy and immigration.
Pamela Gomez of DREAM action Florida says the organization has assisted in registering over 11 million new voters. She said Rubio receives much of his support and votes from the southern portion of the state, and though many Latinos came out to vote for him, he cannot take the vote for granted.
“Immigration reform for our community is our number one priority,” said the former undocumented immigrant. ““We want to make sure that [our elected officials] know we want them to speak out for our community”
Ohio is a state not known for their Latino population, with roughly 300,000 Latino and 100,000 undocumented immigrants, the state is not on the radar for most, however being an important swing state, the Latino vote proved important last November.
Exit polls said 71 percent of Ohio Latinos voted for Obama, Nick Torres of DREAM activist Ohio said federal agencies need to redirect their financial resources in the immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) department and dedicate the money to speeding up the citizenship process. Homeland security records show 18 billion dollars was spending on border security and deportation.
“Ohio has a northern border with Canada,” Torres said. “We’re impacted directly by border control. This is basically about setting priorities and allocating resources, border control and ICE have received most of the resources.”
Immigration reform, would also sooth the issue of racial profiling according to Louie Cortes of DREAM action Idaho, who says the state has many immigrant farm workers, and not just on the southern border, but spread throughout.
“Because of the over-militarization of the border and the lack of accountability, we’ve seen a lot of rights violations” Cortes said. “Both documented and undocumented are starting to have a strong political grip on this movement”
Cortes said his goal is to put pressure on the Idaho delegation to Congress to not only pass immigration reform, but provide a clear pathway without political holdup.
Vargas said it should take at most, five years to become a citizen but right now it takes 20 years.
“Our job is to express the sentiments of the Latino community,” said Vargas.
The coalition plans to campaign across the country in the states of Arizona, Florida, Idaho, and Ohio amongst others. Ohio is home to Speaker of the House, John Boehner where Torres plans to pressure the speaker to pass immigration reform, and in Florida, Gomez says she will be using grassroots efforts such as marches and gathering support from state officials to put pressure on Rubio.
Pressure will not be just on the GOP; Vargas wants to make sure Democrats do not take the Latino vote for granted. The Obama administration has deported over 4 million people since taking office, over 400,000 a year, which includes deporting parents but not the children; separating families.
“Republicans may not be the only ones who have a Latino problem,” Vargas said. “For families that have DREAMers, don’t break them up.”
Citing a Pew Hispanic poll, Vargas said most people support more than just the DREAM act; they support a clear pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“Two Thousand-fourteen is not too far away,” Vargas said. “And 2016 is not too far way”