Black lawmakers missing from immigration debate
The question is being raised by a number of observers and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) watchers: out of 42 Black members of Congress currently serving in the House, why couldn’t one African American serve on the “Gang of 8?”
The 844-page immigration reform bill sent to the House of Representatives was received by select members of the House also known as the “Gang of 8” (four Democrats and four Republicans) for political craftsmanship. So why not any black Representatives in the select “Gang of 8”? In fact, where are black voices as it pertains to immigration reform? If you’re thinking that this isn’t an issue that should concern black Americans, then you’re wrong. Anytime there is a systematic effort to remove or block black or brown peoples, obviously because of fear of their future voting potential, you had better perk up. I am one of those individuals that would challenge the Congressional Black Caucus to step up on the issue of immigration reform.
Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.
I am frequently inspired by President Obama, and tonight was no exception. I thought Mr. Obama’s State of Union speech was very good overall. It was well-delivered and touched on the policy issues that are at the forefront some of our country’s most vigorous debates — gun control, immigration reform and sequestration to name a few. The speech was chock full of policy and struck a tone that demonstrates that Mr. Obama is leading in his second term with a greater resolve.
The surprise for many in the speech was the President’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, and his announcement to bring 34,000 American troops home from Afghanistan this year. Great news after 10 years of war. The President also brought several visionary, forward thinking ideas to the speech, but what I found most interesting about the speech was Mr. Obama’s vision for America’s economic future through innovation. As well, Mr. Obama’s vision for education in America from preschool to post-secondary remains a consistent theme in many of his speeches. The Washington Post highlights five takeaways from the State of the Union speech, and the Los Angeles Times provides a breakdown by topic.
For me, what separates Mr. Obama from so many other leaders in American politics today is his focus, perseverance and willingness to be a pioneer and trendsetter in the face of great obstinacy and resistance from the GOP. His Presidency is progressing toward being truly transformational for the future of the United States. Forward.
On January 2nd, the White House ruled that foreign spouses and children can stay with their U.S. citizen relatives if they are applying for green cards (permanent residency). This is another step in the right direction as the Obama Administration moves toward comprehensive immigration reform. Nancy Pelosi mentioned immigration reform in her remarks at the opening of 113th Congress, but there was no mention from John Boehner. President Obama has promised to introduce an immigration reform bill shortly after his inauguration that will give legal status to approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants. I think he will do just that. Besides, something must be done on immigration reform in his second term, and after garnering 71% of the Hispanic vote in the 2012 Election, I think that President Obama has a mandate.
The Republicans will charge that President Obama needs to secure our borders, but Mr. Obama has been doing that and more. In fact, according to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Obama Administration in FY11 alone almost 400,000 immigrants were deported, and in FY12 over 400,000 immigrants were deported. Recent deportations, within the last fiscal year, and as a matter of priority, fell into the category of immigrants who were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors as the Obama Administration fine-tuned its deportation policy.
One might ask, what happened to the significance of the sonnet, “New Colossus” inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free“. Or does this phrase only have application if the immigrant population is European? Conservative Republicans do not want immigration reform, and if the GOP remains on its same course, immigrants who may someday become U.S. citizens represent yet another constituency with whom they will have no influence, especially Hispanic immigrants. With the political composition of 113th Congress, immigration reform promises to be another gritty battle for the Obama Administration. Nonetheless, now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform.
Read the ABC Univision piece: Analysis: 6 Things Obama Needs To Do for Immigration Reform