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February 25, 2009

Advocacy message from Marshall Fitz, Director, AILA Advocacy

Director's Corner, Inside Politics;

People not immersed in the immigration policy debate (and some people who are) seem surprised when I argue that immigration reform must and will go forward this year. Frankly, I’m surprised by their surprise.

Times are really tough, but they aren’t hopeless. And the notion that Congress can’t or shouldn’t address any other pressing policy questions facing the nation because the economy has tanked is nonsensical. Obviously, legislative efforts to address the economic crisis and facilitate recovery are and should be the Federal government’s top priority. But this Congress and this Administration were elected to solve a host of tough problems, including reform of our failing immigration system. And immigration reform will advance, not detract from, economic recovery (more on that in a future post).

“That’s all well and good,” argue the naysayers, “but what evidence do we have that Congress won’t just use the crisis as political cover to run from the difficult issues?” Well, I can’t speak for other issues, but I have a number of clear answers as to why they shouldn’t run from immigration this year. More importantly, there is one simple but overwhelming piece of evidence that they won’t run from immigration reform this year: because he said so.

Yep, the President not once, but twice this month has renewed his commitment to comprehensive immigration reform:

"What…[c]ontinues to be a priority for the country is comprehensive immigration reform that provides not only better security on the borders and more effective sanctions on employers but also provides a path to citizenship for those who have been living here and are committed to becoming US citizens…Let's evaluate the laws that are working and the laws that are not working. Let's take into account some of the strains that are being placed on families…" (Interview of the President by "El Pistolero", Radio, February 12, 2009)

Yesterday, by phone with Los Angeles-based and nationally syndicated Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo, the President stressed that time is of the essence for immigration reform:

"…we've got to have comprehensive immigration reform…[We] need to get started working on it now. It's going to take some time to move that forward, but I'm very committed to making it happen. And we're going to be convening leadership on this issue so that we can start getting that legislation drawn up over the next several months." (Interview of the President by Eddie "Piolín" Sotelo, Radio, February 17, 2009)

So don’t take it from me; take it from him. We need to maintain the drumbeat and show our Members of Congress that immigration reform can, must, and will happen this year.

Join the battle on March 19th and help us fight for urgently needed reforms by visiting your Members of Congress in D.C. or in their District offices. The National Day of Action is AILA's opportunity to show united support for a workable fix to our broken immigration system. Register online at www.aila.org/dayofaction.

Tune in next week. Same Pulse time, same Pulse channel.

Marshall Fitz
Director, AILA Advocacy

Posted by VisaLawyer at February 25, 2009 11:37 AM


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