As the March 21st March for America gets closer, the pressure seems to be mounting on the White House and Congress to do something to move comprehensive immigration reform forward. There have been press conferences calling out Obama’s enforcement strategy as a betrayal of his campaign promises and just yesterday a series of meetings.
Some of the organizations who met with Obama included the National Immigration Forum, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, United We Dream, NY Immigration Coalition, National Council of la Raza, Center for Community Change, SEIU, CASA de Maryland, UFCW, HERE, ICIRR, Hispanic Federation, USCCB, and Esperanza (PA). Here are some reactions from some of those at the meeting yesterday.
Josh Hoyt from ICIRR
Gustavo Torres en Spanish, Casa de Maryland:
After the meetings, the tone coming from advocates was optimistic. Even the White House put out a rosy colored press statement. The reality of Obama’s current immigration policy is far from pretty however, as I.C.E. raids continue to target not hardened criminals as we are being told, but rather familias. In fact, as the President met with lawmakers and advocates in D.C., an I.C.E. raid was going down in Maryland.
From Casa de Maryland:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested twenty-nine individuals as they raided two restaurants, one office and several homes in Maryland. Throughout the day, ICE agents and police went from location to location in Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties rounding up workers and taking them off the job and from their homes. This is just the latest in a series of raids in Maryland which are tearing families apart and terrifying immigrant communities.
So who are our communities expected to believe? Obama and the advocates claiming to represent our communities or the real fear experienced in our ‘hoods across the country? Were yesterday’s raids that targeted working immigrant families a warning meant to scare people away from the March on the 21st and play nice while Washington plays business as usual with Latino lives?
I was talking to some local immigrants in my hood the other evening about the rally on the 21st and what I heard wasn’t favorable. One immigrant said that he felt that the politicos and advocates were playing with the emotions of the immigrant community, building up expectations that can’t be met.
What of the demand that all raids and deportations be halted until there is legislation on the table? That is something concrete that President Obama can do instead of laying the blame of inaction on the legislature while turning a blind eye to the increase of families being separated. I know the march on the 21st hasn’t happened yet but what happens afterwards? Do we march, chant and then sit on our hands waiting, again for the President to fulfill his commitment or do we take actions to keep our communities and families within those communities have justice?