Friday, May 30, 2014

Immigration Reform; Divisions on Strategy

by David Iaconangelo.  Latin Times 
The New York Times reports that on Tuesday, a group of pro-immigration reform groups including the Service Employees International Union and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops urged President Barack Obama to delay executive action on immigration enforcement until the August Congressional recess in order to give House Republicans time to act on legislation.  A day later, the administration said it was ordering Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson to hold off on final recommendations to the president on how immigration-enforcement policies could be made more “humane” – a task understood as preliminary to any potential executive action taken by Obama. 
Eliseo Medina, chief organizer with the SEIU, told the Times that the move would force the hand of Republicans in the House, saying that it would be “absolutely crystal clear for Latino and Asian voters that they blocked” immigration reform if the GOP did not act.  Democratic leaders in Congress have also gotten on board with that strategy; New York senator Chuck Schumer, a key proponent of reform and member of the eight-man bipartisan team that wrote last summer’s comprehensive Senate bill, said last Friday that Obama would have “no choice but to act on his own” if House Republicans refused to pass legislation. 
But some immigrant advocates express anger and impatience with the strategy as deportations of undocumented immigrants continue
 – the Times noted that in Milwaukee, a raid supposedly focused on gang members netted five arrests of alleged Mexican Posse members, but also several other people on nothing more than immigration violations – while GOP leadership has shown little sign of movement for several months.  La Opinion reports that advocates including United We Dream in D.C., the Dream Action Coalition in Arizona, CHIRLA in Los Angeles, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) in D.C. said they did not agree with the tactic.  FIRM spokeswoman Kika Matos told the paper that “while the delay doesn’t mean much for the White House or Republicans in the House, in our communities there are workers, fathers and sons who every day fear losing a loved one.  Every day that passes means another 1,100 deportations.”

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