Our broken immigration system dishonors our nation.
On May 1, community organizers, unions, faith leaders and immigrant rights groups will hold major demonstrations across America for immigration reform. These protests represent a significant escalation in the unrelenting pressure by the grassroots to fix an immoral and dysfunctional immigration system.
President Obama has yet to deliver on his promise to move immigration reform. The Senate has yet to deliver on its promise to produce a bill. The Department of Homeland Security has yet to deliver on its promise to focus on arresting bad actors instead of terrorizing ordinary immigrants. What's more, the lack of action is having severe repercussions and creating an environment of fear, even terror on the ground in states like Arizona, which is poised to adopt the nation's most severe anti-immigrant law. This new law will enshrine racial profiling as the law of the land in Arizona -- the result will be a racial reign of terror on our communities.
The time for making promises has run out. The time for concrete action has arrived. We demand action -- from the President, from Congress, and from DHS:
- Senators Schumer and Graham must introduce legislation before May 1.
- Congress and the President must pass comprehensive immigration in 2010.
- The President must end rogue enforcement at ICE and enact policies that keep families united.
If there is no bill by May 1 we will begin an intense campaign to demonstrate the inhumanity of current policies and force all Americans to confront these policies.
Our struggle is rooted in the historic progressive movements of America. Today, in America it is illegal for millions of immigrant families without papers to work and live in our nation. It harkens back to when it was illegal for workers to unionize, when it was illegal for women to vote, when it was illegal for African Americans to sit at the same lunch counter with whites, when it was illegal for LGBT couples to be open about their relationships.
None of those foregoing struggles were won easily or without incredibly painful efforts to confront the retrenching forces of conservatism and hate. Change and progress were won by forcing this nation to make difficult choices.
The time for choice on immigration has come.
Will America continue enforcing bad laws that hurt good people, or change bad laws so that good people can realize their dreams and their potential?
The moral disaster of our present course is manifest. Every day ordinary immigrants are being terrorized by the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency, a rogue agency that operates with impunity. Every day immigrant workers are being exploited, pitted against American workers in a race to the bottom, and helping unscrupulous employers undermine decent ones. Every day immigrant families are being ripped apart by the Obama Administration's mass deportation machine.
Every day the welfare of children is threatened, disabled immigrants are put at peril for their lives, and refugees fleeing humanitarian catastrophes are put in jeopardy. Every day more than 30,000 immigrants are detained. Every day that the President and Congress perpetuate the status quo, America's soul is darkened.
Every day that this continues we will ratchet up the political cost for continuing an unjust and broken system. We will reward our champions and punish those who stand in the way of reform. Those on the sidelines will be asked to choose between practical reform and the hate mongers who support the present immoral policies.
Join us in this urgent call for America to correct its course. More information about May Day for America is available at www.May1March.org.
Follow Deepak Bhargava on Twitter: www.twitter.com/changenation