Photo: Mitt Romney and Barack Obama
Civil and political leaders from the Latino community meeting Tuesday for the annual conference of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute are confident that the presidential term that begins in 2013 will see the approval of immigration reform.
“There is a new consensus that is emerging across the country and whoever wins (in November) has to defend that consensus,” the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, Ali Noorani, said at the event in Washington.
Noorani emphasized that in recent years there has been “a moment of inspiration” where lawmakers, community leaders and undocumented immigrants achieved temporary immigration relief - Deferred Action - for undocumented young people through the pressure they exerted on President Barack Obama.
“But now we need to pass a law that will be permanent,” that will be approved both by the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed by the country’s next president, he said.
The Obama administration’s Deferred Action initiative is seen as a substitute for the DREAM Act, a bill to provide a path to permanent residence for qualified undocumented youth that passed the House but was blocked in the Senate
As an undocumented immigrant and activist, Gabriela Pacheco asked for more positivism in immigration matters. “We’re forgetting to celebrate the victories,” she said.
Pacheco, the policy director for the United We DREAM group, said that the Latino community in recent years had begun a visible struggle for its rights that has concretized itself within the public debate and must be seen as a triumph.
The activist said, therefore, that she was confident that the basis for achieving comprehensive reform had been laid and Congress will have a crucial role in that.
“The differences among people of color have decreased and the reason for that is that they have taken responsibility and have demanded their power,” she said.
The Rev. Freddy Santiago, pastor of Rebaño Church, emphasized that “deportation will never be the solution on the basis of family principles,” and so the Church must defend a comprehensive law that regularizes the situation of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.