Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The day after: what do we do next?

Yesterday millions took to the streets to have their voices heard in the great national debate over immigration reform. After years of living in the shadows, their voices muffled by fear and intimidation, immigrants and their supporters sent an unmistakable message to the nation. Yet the battle is far from won. The true battle for immigrant's rights will not only be fought in the hearts and minds of the American public, but in the halls of power. Come November the voices of the many will be heard in polling places throughout this nation, but we cannot wait that long.

Today we must begin to make our voices heard in Washington before it is too late.

The Senate is about to resume negotiations on immigration reform legislation. This will be a tough battle. Many favor the easy way out. Rather than deal with the hard work of fixing our broken immigration system, they chose instead to resort to the failed policies of the past. Policies that have left millions living in the shadows, with no hope for ever fully taking part in the American dream while at the same time not providing any true measure of security for the American people.

Those in power who favor the short-sighted "enforcement–only" policies have played upon fears and prejudices to move their agenda forward. They have allies in the media who daily give voice to their failed vision. They are once again gambling that by fostering divisiveness and fear they can gain political favor with the American people. Over the past six years their politics of fear and division has been successful, but finally it is time for it to come to an end.

The time has come for a people united to tell their elected representative: NO MORE.

We will no longer support short-sighted, quick fixes that in fact only created greater problems and suffering. Out of fear and a hope for a quick fix the American people have given their leaders free reign to take us to war, rewrite the tax system in favor of the rich, destroy the environment, squander great riches, and give corporations control over government policy at a cost millions of lost jobs.

Now some leaders want to blame all their failed policies on those least able to defend themselves; immigrants. They give us proposals to criminalize millions, close our borders and build walls. But we will no longer allow them to divide and misdirect the American people. They can no longer scapegoat others for their failures.

We say loudly and clearly … NO MORE.

Let those in power know how you feel. Take the time to write your Senator and tell them you want comprehensive immigration reform. Let them know you don't support the failed policies of the past and demand that they do the hard work they were elected to do. Tell them you will no longer settle for the politics of division and fear.

We want change and we want it now.

US Senate.gov

US House.gov

Online directory 109th congress

Online directory 109th Congress (en español)

Congressional E-mail directory

here is one sample letter to give you some ideas, but feel free to use your own words to express how you feel.

Dear Senator___________,

I urge you to support a comprehensive approach to reforming our immigration system and to oppose short-sighted "enforcement-only" proposals that purport to get tough, but that are doomed to fail without a concomitant reform of our laws. Our immigration system is fundamentally broken, and we need a realistic, comprehensive solution, not more of the same failed policies.

The past two decades have shown that enforcement-only policies do not work. Between 1986 and 2002, the number of Border Patrol officers tripled and the number of hours they spent patrolling the border grew by a factor of eight, but in that same time period, the probability of apprehension along the U.S.-Mexico border dropped from about 33% to 5%. To truly guarantee our security, we need to enact comprehensive legislation that brings immigrants out of the shadows; shuts down smuggling operations and the black market in fake documents; secures our borders, and encourages those who settle here to get on the path to lawful permanent status and eventual integration through citizenship.

A March 2005 poll of likely voters and a new poll of likely Republican voters both show that Americans strongly support a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that increases border security, and provides a path to citizenship with reasonable requirements.

I urge you to oppose "enforcement-only" proposals and support comprehensive immigration reform. By tackling the tough issues, it would address the problems that have long plagued our current immigration system.
Crossposted from Migra Matters

No comments: