Menendez to introduce Schumer-like immigration bill

NJ Democrat’s proposal seems like effort to appease Latino voters discouraged by Obama’s failed promise of immigration reform

NJ Democratic Senator Robert Menendez has announced that he will introduce a “comprehensive” immigration reform bill as early as tonight. Though we won’t know all the details of the bill until it is introduced, it will most likely look a lot like the proposal announced by Senator Schumer (D-NY) this spring, which offered limited avenues for legalization in exchange for increased border enforcement and criminalization of immigrants. Though the bill is not expected to pass this year, Menendez says it’s a matter of good policy:

“If you look at all of the polls, overwhelmingly, people want to see a resolution of the problem. They want to see our system reformed,” Menendez told POLITICO Tuesday. “So clearly, you see the difference between those who are willing to move forward and get a reform and [those who are] not, and for the Hispanic community, clearly they understand who stands on their side and [who does] not.”

But the move has been criticized as a ploy to regain the support of Latino voters who are angry about Obama’s failed promise of immigration reform coupled with rising rates of deportation and family separation.

Adding to this view is the fact that Congressional Democrats so easily joined forces to push through a major border spending bill yet have shown little effort towards pushing for CIR. Meanwhile, the administration has not let up on deportations and family separations and Obama has not put his efforts behind a major immigration overhaul as he did with healthcare reform.

Ultimately, if we are to see a serious effort for CIR that fixes our broken immigration system and upholds human rights and dignity, it will be a result of the immigrant rights movements increased power and influence through broadening our use of popular education, creating inclusive and broad analysis, and the development of creative tactics. Such a change in direction of the movement will not come from the DC-based organizations, who are already offering support for the Menendez bill without knowing all of its particularities. Inspiration needs to come from past social movements and the current DREAM movement, that has been able to force the DREAM Act onto the national scene through education and creative tactics.

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2 responses to “Menendez to introduce Schumer-like immigration bill

  1. Shirley M.Frias-Saenz

    perhaps another walk out of all Hispanic people, from their jobs, schools, etc. will have some impact on the election.
    If the goverment can see whom is behind the labor
    force in this country, maybe then the goverment can understand our rights!

  2. Shirley, that would be great. In order for us to do that, though, we need to be a lot more organized at the grassroots and integrate much more popular education and leadership development into our efforts. Also we probably need to develop more local direct action tactics that involve many more people and target local issues as a stepping stone to an action that attempts to involve so many people. It is possible but needs a lot more ground work than is happening right now.

    Unfortunately just as the civil rights movement was held back from its full potential by white liberals saying “wait,” right now the immigrant rights movement is experiencing similar discouragement by DC-based groups as well as moderate liberals from developing creative tactics and doing the ground work (organizing) necessary to successfully implement those tactics. For that reason, such a general strike is probably far away from current possibilities. That doesn’t mean we don’t work to one day make that distant possibility a reality.

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