Blog & Updates
This Week in Immigration En Español
May 12, 2009 - Posted by Katherine Vargas
Photo Credit: Univision Radio
During this week, headlines in Spanish-language media featured the reaction by the Hispanic community to the Shenandoah, PA jury decision on the tragic death of Mexican immigrant Luis Ramirez, the Supreme Court groundbreaking decision on immigrant identity-theft charges, and the immigration-related provisions in the President’s proposed budget calling for strengthened border security and increasing funding for immigrant integration programs and improving immigration application processing.
For the purpose of this posting, I will highlight two notable pieces: El Piolin’s visit to the White House and his radio interview with President Obama where they discussed immigration and a column in Los Angeles based newspaper La Opinion commenting on the prospects of immigration reform in the new Administration and the important role that the immigrant community plays in making sure that Congress delivers.
1. Univisión Radio/El Piolín: El Piolín por la Mañana is one of the highest ranking morning radio shows in Los Angeles (in any language) and on May 7, Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo visited the White House to interview the President. El Piolín has been extremely active in his advocacy for immigration reform —in 2006, he called on his hundreds of thousands of listeners to march in support of immigrant rights —so not surprisingly Piolín asked the President about his commitment on immigration reform. This was the President’s response:
“I think we are making progress [on immigration reform], I met with leaders from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and I reiterated my commitment to immigration reform”
The President confirmed that he is working very closely with House Representatives Luis Gutiérrez from Illiniois, Nydia Velásques from New York and Senator Bob Menéndez from New Jersey on a new project that will legalize undocumented immigrants who live and work in our country.
“My goal is to introduce a bill this year”, emphasized President Obama. He mentioned that his initial plans had been delayed due to the current economic crisis. “I have been occupied with other issues, like the creation of new jobs … but my commitment is still firm”.
The goal behind immigration reform is not to “improve the live of immigrants, the goal is to improve the live of everyone in America”
stated the President.
—Obama Reafirmo su Compromiso, Apoyará una Reforma Migratoria, May 7, 2009 Translated by Katherine Vargas
2. La Opinion: This opinion piece by activist and political analyst Ricardo Moreno titled “Winds of Reform” points to the winds of reform that are blowing again in Washington and the pragmatic approach that the new Administration is taking on immigration policy, the writer calls on the immigrant community to harness this renewed energy and through the power of advocacy, pressure Congress to move forward on immigration reform.
The winds of immigration reform are blowing again. Many positive signs show the existing political will to face this issue before the end of this year…
Until now, leaders in Congress and Administration officials have talked in very general terms about immigration reform but they assure that in one way or the other, 12 million undocumented immigrants will be legalized and border security will be strengthened. In other words, they are seeking to solve this issue in a pragmatic and politically balanced way…
In the meantime, pro-immigrant groups tried to revive the strength of past immigrant rallies through the mobilizations of May 1st... I have always supported mobilizations but the marches shouldn’t be an end in themselves, they should be yet another element in the fight for immigration reform.
We need to recognize the President’s true intention to take on the issue as a moral issue that surpasses all political diatribes, but the reality is that despite his good intentions he needs the Senate and the House to approve a law that he can sign…
The fight for immigration reform will not be won only by marching on the streets…it will be won by convincing a majority in Congress that this is a social justice issue…We need to write to Congress, meet with our Congressional representatives in their districts and in Washington. We can march but we can also advocate, so we can avoid having these winds blow in the opposite direction.
—Vientos de Reforma, Ricardo Moreno, May 9, 2009 Translated by Katherine Vargas