Immigration Reform Held Back by Tea Party

Reform RallyIn was November 2012, we had an election, the majority of the Latino vote went to President Barack Obama. Many thought that with his reelection, the enactment of Immigration Reform legislation was a certainty. But it became quite clear that certain politicians on Capitol Hill had different intentions. The Tea Party legislators have become an example of how disdain for governance can be a detriment to what the majority of Americans want from their government. The majority of us wanted sensible gun legislation, most us wanted to avoid going off the cliff and avoid entering the world of sequestration, most of us want healthcare for all, most of us wanted immigration reform, most of us wanted a helping hand during the hard times and what we got from Washington and the Tea Party was a deaf ear and a slap on the face.

It is now September 2013 and the enactment of Immigration Reform legislation is no closer to being passed than it was almost a year ago. On September 12th, more than 100 women were arrested after blocking traffic to protest Congress’ inability to pass immigration legislation. Among those arrested were more than 20 women who were undocumented. The women, dressed in red T-shirts that read “Women for Fair Immigration Reform” and wearing white arm bands, held a rally and then joined hands and sat down in a circle on Independence Avenue, outside the U.S. Capitol. They wanted our politicians to overhaul our immigration system that not only results in sensible reform but that also treats women and children fairly. Our current system makes it more difficult for women to gain legalization and a report for the Immigration Policy Center found that any path to citizenship must be open, affordable, and accessible to all immigrant women, including those whose work is unpaid.

And these U.S. immigration laws can also be detrimental to children. Often, our current immigration enforcement system separates children, who are often U.S. citizens, from their undocumented immigrant parents. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that approximately 5.5 million children in the United States live in mixed-legal status families with at least one parent who is an undocumented immigrant and at risk of deportation.

So what is Congress doing? Well, these poor congressmen, after a 5-week vacation, have a full schedule on items that they have to debate this fall, so some don’t even know if immigration reform legislation will come up. And some believe that if it doesn’t come up for debate in 2013, it won’t be on the docket again until 2015. So are we made to believe that our elected officials cannot multitask? They can tweet and download Apps and play games on their smartphones so surely they can debate more than one form of legislation at a time. If not, maybe we should stop paying their salaries and health care benefits, after all they are made possible by us tax payers.

Cullen Hightower once said “Wisdom is what’s left after we’ve run out of personal opinions.” It’s time for the politicians to put aside their petty “personal opinions” and start to listen to their constituents and begin to do the people’s work. Why? Because the majority of us WANT sensible gun legislation, most us WANT resolved the detrimental effects of sequestration, most of us WANT healthcare for all, most of us WANT immigration reform, and most of us WANT the help to get back on our feet and NOT a slap on the face.