National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Blog & Updates

Department of ENERGY

February 24, 2009 - Posted by Maurice Belanger

No, this is not about the government agency. Since last year’s election, the anticipation of change has brought a renewed sense of hope and a renewed energy among activists around the county.  There are more local players getting involved, coalescing into more local coalitions that include immigration advocates, faith-based groups, local businesses and labor organizations.

Prayer Vigils around the Country: During the Congressional recess, the Interfaith Immigration Coalition organized more than 130 prayer vigils around the country to press Congress for comprehensive immigration reform. You can find out more about the Interfaith Coalition on their Web site.

In the Halls of Congress: During the debate on E-Verify in the economic recovery package, we received reports from friends on the Hill that pro-immigrant voices were heard. That is great news, of course, but we are only as effective as our last phone call, so please continue to respond to action alerts, share them with your friends and let Congress know that we will hold them accountable for their actions (or failing to take action) on immigration reform.

Dogging the restrictionists: The antics of Maricopa County, Arizona’s Sheriff-turned-reality-show-entertainer Joe Arpaio have recently drawn more focused attention from pro-immigrant groups around the country. Earlier this month, he marched immigrant detainees, in shackles, to a “tent city” surrounded by electric fence. America’s Voice has launched a petition to stop Arpaio, who already has 2,700 lawsuits filed against him.  They are calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate Arpaio for civil rights violations.  Sign the AV petition: Click here. You can also find on this page links to other resources on Arpaio and what is being done about him. The Forum issued a statement on Arpaio’s stunt, as well as a press release applauding members of the House Judiciary Committee for calling for an investigation of Arpaio.

Recently, “The Coalition for the Future of the American Worker,” one of the front groups spun from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) launched an ad attacking Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who has been a champion of immigration reform in Congress. FAIR, and its sister organizations the Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA, are the subject of a new Southern Poverty Law Center report, The Nativist Lobby: Three Faces of Intolerance. The Southern Poverty Law Center is an organization that has been tracking the operation of hate groups in the U.S. for nearly three decades. In recent years, anti-immigrant groups have gotten on to their radar screen, as the immigration debate became more vitriolic. You can obtain the report on SPLC’s Web site.

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