by Marvin J. Ramírez
In a statement of Joe García, director of the New Democratic Network (NDN) this month, he emphasized that one item, the immigration issue, is an area on which the President, Senator McCain, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the Catholic Church, the Chamber of Commerce, numerous labor unions and many other grassroots groups were able to find common cause and work together: the McCain- Kennedy approach to comprehensive immigration reform that passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support in 2006.
This agreement, however, has not been able to survive, as many other proposals have been drafted by interest groups, so confusing to advocates and the immigrant communities, as they leave millions in limbo.
“Floating a brand new approach to immigration reform, the President and his Party have stepped backward and devised a new path that will do much more to please their partisans than solve this important problem,” said García.
He asked that President Bush acts thinking in a comprehensive solution to the immigration issue, and not to follow the lead of his party.
“The President needs to publicly distance himself from the plan being floated by Senate Republican leaders, and say right now that he intends to pick up where we left off in 2006 – with the McCain-Kennedy approach that has already passed the Republican-controlled Senate,” García said.
This inaction by our legislators shows the incompetence of our Congress, and how faithful they are to interest groups who want to keep one way or another, an underground workforce, without rights and state supervision of their employers. It’s basically a form of slavery, as an African-North American police cadet commented while I spoke at the San Francisco Police Academy three weeks ago, to address the future officers.
“Anything less will show that the President, despite his passionate rhetoric today, is simply not serious about passing comprehensive immigration reform this year,” adds García.
The new and flawed Republican approach being floated, said García, will unravel this coalition, and deal a severe blow to those hoping to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.
It’s obvious that the President is positive and hopeful that immigration reform has to be comprehensive, wrote Janet Munguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza.
“But it’s time that the President starts delivering to make it happen…. Yet we must also keep in mind that the window of opportunity is fast closing.
And for this to happen, every interested party to the immigration issue must agree that Congress must pass the immigration reform legislation before August recess.