Today is the 22nd day of the Fast 4 Families, where labor leaders and others are fasting on the National Mall in Washington D.C. for “commonsense” immigration reform. The usual suspects are sponsors of the action including SEIU, Voto Latino, America’s Voice, Center for Community Change, National Council of la Raza, and United We Dream.
The definition of common sense immigration reform has been and remains unclear and purposely so. Is the fast calling for an end of the detention industrial complex; an end to deportations, for Obama to use his executive power to do that?
Over the past 22 days the fast has become a Democrat party machine photo opp, with the highlight being a visit by President Obama and First Lady Michelle. The demand for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship means taking on Democrat party messaging using the Senate bill that passed in June as a template and pulling out (again) the tired analysis of let’s blame the Republicans. This way the Democrats, including President Obama under whose administration the United States has seen record breaking deportation numbers, can claim clean hands.
If the goal is for House leader John Boehner to introduce comprehensive immigration to the house floor, then are the fasters starving themselves for a path to citizenship that only happens after billions of dollars are pumped into making the U.S. border more militarized and criminalizing those who try to come in through that border? Will the break fast include a celebration of exclusions that would keep poor immigrants from accessing health care benefits for about 15 years? This may seem like splitting hairs but given the content of the Senate bill and the language of the proposed House bill, these questions demand answers if the immigrant rights movement is going to claim to be righteous and of the people.