State of the Union and Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR)

In case you missed it, here’s what President Obama said regarding CIR in the State of the Union:

“And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system – to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations.

In the end, it is our ideals, our values, that built America; values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe; values that drive our citizens still. Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers. Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbors and give back to their country. They take pride in their labor, and are generous in spirit. These aren’t Republican values or Democratic values they’re living by; business values or labor values. They are American values.”

I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed that President Obama’s speech barely mentioned immigration reform, or that even the mention of it came near the end of a long speech. Yet, I can say that I remain hopeful for the passage of CIR legislation. We cannot give up. This is just an indicator that we need to step up our game in demanding humane immigration reform from Congress. It’s a reminder that we need to work even harder and make even more noise to show our Members of Congress and the White House just how urgent immigration reform is to millions of families, and of course how important CIR is to the well-being of our economy.

Moving forward, here at LUPE we understand more than ever the need to mobilize our base while getting new folks involved with the most pressing civil rights issue of our time. One important event coming up is our Immigrant Rights convention in Austin on February 20th. Head on over to the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance site to get more details if you’re able to attend! We will be calling on our Senators and Reps. to seriously take the lead on immigration reform – we, the voters, are closely watching and demand action now.

I want to close with a quote from Howard Zinn (1927-2010) that has helped me stay hopeful during these troubling times, and I hope it inspires you to keep fighting the good fight:

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many-where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

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