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April 20, 2010

No Bill Means Civil Action

CONGRESS DAILY: Advocates: No Bill Means Civil Action
Friday, April 16, 2010

by Chris Strohm

Advocates who favor an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws said today the Obama administration and members of Congress must introduce comprehensive reform legislation by May 1 or face a backlash that will include mass demonstrations, civil disobedience and lack of votes in November.

The advocates, who held a conference call, said they are not willing to wait until after the November elections to enact immigration reform - an option Senate Majority Leader Reid floated this week.

"What we need right now is a bill to be introduced as soon as possible," said Gabe Gonzalez, director of the Campaign for Community Values. "You can expect weeks of actions following May 1 if a bill is not introduced."

They also want the Homeland Security Department to put a moratorium on a program that allows local police departments to enforce immigration laws, known as the 287g program. If no bill and moratorium are in place by May 1, millions of people will march in the streets and thousands will conduct civil disobedience, said Emma Lozano, executive director of Chicago's Centro Sin Fronteras.

"We are not a little loud tea party," she said.

"We are aware that this is a hard, difficult fight, but we also know that inaction does not mean the problem will go away. It will only get worse," added Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union. "This is not a question if there will be immigration reform. It's only a question of when."

Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Chairman Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are in charge of writing an immigration bill. When asked earlier this week whether a bill would be introduced by the end of April, Schumer only said he wants to pass immigration reform this year and is waiting for a second Republican to help him and Graham introduce the bill.

Reid also touched off some controversy when he said Tuesday that the Senate will not take up immigration reform during the current work period, which lasts until Memorial Day. But advocates quickly responded, saying a bill could be marked up by Senate Judiciary in May and then brought to the Senate floor in June or July.

Posted by VisaLawyer at April 20, 2010 08:04 AM

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