This past Tuesday, 11 community members from the Rio Grande Valley traveled to DC as part of a delegation for Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance. We joined thousands of people from other state-wide coalitions to engage in a day of lobbying and rallying for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR).
Our Texas delegation split up into several groups to meet with 32 members of Congress and most of the meetings went quite well! Democrats and Republicans alike seemed to genuinely want to hear our concerns and solutions for immigration reform. We had the opportunity to present our principles for legislation and the local stories of people who are being affected by the broken immigration system. Several RITA members were also able to sit down with Sen. Cornyn’s legislative aides to talk through our principles that we would like to see in CIR legislation.
I do want to highlight though that we were not able to obtain a meeting with Rep. Henry Cuellar, a prominent Valley Democrat. We had spent the weeks prior to our Oct. 13th events to reserve meetings with our Reps or at least their Immigration Aides. In Cuellar’s case, his staff was quite unresponsive locally and at the DC office when it came to setting up some kind of a meeting. It’s unfortunate because we were even able to obtain meetings with several Republican representatives so for Cuellar’s office to completely disregard the issue is really shameful. We will be taking some kind of local action regarding this issue, so stay tuned!
After our meetings with Texas representatives concluded, we headed over to Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Hutchinson’s offices to deliver a whopping 25,000 petitions from Texas in support of CIR! This was significant because hundreds of those signatures actually came from small businesses who are in support of CIR and legislation that supports workers’ rights. Check out this video of probably the two youngest members of RITA, Carlos and Celia, as they give Sen. Cornyn’s office aide our petitions:
Then we were off to join the national alliance (Reform Immigration for America) for a procession from the Church of the Reformation to the West Lawn of the Capitol. As we marched over in solidarity voicing the need for reform now, I really understood how powerful our movement for CIR is this time around. We are nationally organized, we are united in our demands for reform, and most of all – we are the majority!
Rep. Gutierrez’s speech at the rally really reinforced this idea of a united vision:
“We simply cannot wait any longer for a bill that keeps our families together, protects our workers and allows a pathway to legalization for those who have earned it. I believe the support base for this kind of compassionate and comprehensive legislation is strong and far reaching, and I believe the votes are there to pass it.”
In the Valley, about 150 community members rallied in solidarity with the DC events to show the need for reform. Check out the full story here.
For more on the DC events that took place, take a look at thisNew York Times article.