NDN Blog

UPCOMING EVENT: December 5th - NDN Forum on Hispanics and Immigration

On Wednesday, December 5th, just four days before the GOP Presidential Candidates participate in Univision's Presidential Forum, NDN will hold a forum on the importance of the Hispanic vote as well as the current state of the immigration debate in the United States.

The NDN forum will begin at 10:00 AM on December 5th and will take place at the Phoenix Park Hotel, located at 520 North Capitol Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001. Visit our website for more details, and to RSVP online.

Participating in the forum will be:

Senator Robert Menendez, U.S. Senator, New Jersey
Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)
Frank Sharry, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum
Joe Garcia, Director, NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center
Simon Rosenberg, President and Founder, NDN

In advance of the event, we've put together a collection of recent editorials, articles, and reports as background. Also check out the section of our website dedicated to our work on comprehensive immigration reform.

We hope you will join us next week for such an important, timely conversation.

Must-read Roll Call piece on immigration and the GOP

This morning, Mort Kondracke from Roll Call published a must-read piece on how the GOP is using immigration as a wedge issue. From the lede:

For the umpteenth time, American voters this year have rejected a nativist approach to illegal immigration. It ought to be a warning to Republicans: Don’t make this your 2008 wedge issue.

Election results on Tuesday, especially in Virginia and New York state, also should encourage nervous Democrats that they can support comprehensive immigration reform — stronger enforcement plus earned legalization — and prevail.

Kondracke noted that, while the GOP's general strategy poses a threat, their insistence upon using the issue is even worse:

Even though past election results overwhelmingly indicate that enforcement-only campaigns don’t succeed — indeed, by offending Hispanics, pose a long-term threat to the GOP — Republicans seem bent on making illegal immigration a centerpiece of their 2008 campaigns.


Despite all that evidence, House GOP leaders have staged vote after vote on amendments designed to restrict benefits to illegal immigrants — even where the law already restricts them — and Senate Republicans led the way, joined by nine Democrats, in filibustering the DREAM Act, which would have allowed young people brought to the U.S. by illegal immigrants to earn citizenship.

If Republicans want to destroy their future prospects in increasingly Hispanic, once-Republican states like Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona, it’s their option. But the process could be very nasty.

(Note: the Roll Call article requires a subscription, but you can read Mr. Kondracke's entire piece on-line at Real Clear Politics.)

For more information, be sure to read our statement from yesterday (and our report, Hispanics Rising) that echoes much of what is stated in Roll Call. Also check out a post from Jim Geraghty at the National Review.

Barack Obama in Little Havana

This past Saturday, Senator Barack Obama came to Little Havana to further discuss his position on many issues, among them his plan for Cuba. I was able to introduce Senator Obama before he addressed about 1,500 people at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. Read my remarks here. Below, please watch a video of Senator Obama's remarks on Cuba, and take a look at a few pictures from the event.

For additional coverage of Senator Obama's visit to South Florida, read Beth Reinhard's piece in the Miami Herald.

Wall Street Journal Editorial Challenges Republicans on Immigration

In the past few weeks, NDN has continued to do all it can to make sure that the Senate moves forward on comprehensive immigration reform. Like so many of you, we know that passing this legislation is not only the right thing to do, but that the American people want it done. And our message has been getting through; our commentary has recently been cited in The Hill, Newsweek, US News, Salon (here and here), the LA Times (here and here), The Washington Post, and The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The main editorial in the Wall Street Journal today again reflects our view, and strongly recommends to the GOP that, to give themselves a fighting chance to be majority party in the 21st century, Republicans should "sue for peace" and join the Democrats in passing comprehensive immigration reform this week. We hope you read it and offer us your thoughts in the comments section.

NDN Applauds Progress on Immigration Reform

I released this statement earlier this afternoon...

"There should be little doubt that fixing our broken immigration system is one our nation’s highest priorities. NDN has supported a comprehensive approach to fix our immigration system, one that does three things – cracks down on the border and in the workplace, better regulates the flow of future workers to lessen the need for undocumented workers, and offers millions of undocumented immigrants already here a chance to legalize their work status and eventually become American citizens. It has been our belief that the only way to fix our immigration system was to take this comprehensive approach and do all three things together. Anything less would not work.

The deal announced today by Senators of both parties takes this same comprehensive approach, and thus we believe is an important step in the right direction. We are clearly closer today towards coming up with a good bi-partisan solution to the immigration challenge that will serve the interests of the nation.

We were especially pleased to see so many Republicans at this afternoon’s press conference, as it has been their party that has so aggressively stood in the way of progress to this point.

Like many, we found parts of the deal to be troubling. We are particularly concerned about the approach to temporary workers, the retreat from the family-first immigration approach that has guided American immigration policy for almost a century, and the requirement for heads of households to return to their own countries to initiate portions of the citizenship process.

We eagerly anticipate the debate in the Senate next week, and plan to be very active to help make sure we get a good and strong bill to the President this year."

For more information on NDN's work to pass comprehensive immigration reform, visit http://www.ndn.org/advocacy/immigration/.

Immigration deal on the horizon?

The Hill shines light on the possibility of a deal on an immigration bill in the Senate. From the article:

The Senate’s bipartisan immigration talks yesterday yielded the first stirrings of a “grand bargain,” but the fate of the compromise remained uncertain amid political pressure from interest groups and a potential filibuster.

Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking Republican and leader of recent negotiations on immigration reform, took the floor to announce the progress and ask Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for more time before the next week’s floor deadline.

“We have come to an agreement on what we have called a ‘grand bargain,’ which is the outline of an immigration bill,” Specter said.

Sanctions for employers who hire illegal immigrants, thousands of new Border Patrol agents and a trigger mechanism to tackle border security are all under consideration, Specter said. But he warned that Reid’s plans to call up last year’s
Senate-passed immigration bill — which has lost significant support — as a placeholder could bring the process to a halt.

Be sure to check out NDN's work on passing comprehensive immigration reform this year.

NDN Statement on Immigration Marches

Today, Americans all across the country are marching in support of a lasting and functional immigration policy - one that ensures a strong, safe, and secure border. NDN supports these marches, as they represent the need for something we have been strong advocates of for over three and a half years: Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

These marches are also a testament to the failure of the Bush Administration's to enact the comprehensive, meaningful reform America needs. As Director of NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center, I will be speaking and participating in a large march in South Florida this afternoon.

President asks college grads to help lobby for immigration reform

In his commencement speech to Miami Dade College, President Bush encouraged the graduating students to contact their Representatives and have them push for immigration legislation. More in the AP article here.

Once again, the President is preaching to the choir: more than half of the students at Miami Dade College were raised speaking a language other than English.

I'm not going to go into the details of his speech, because we've all heard the speeches. We've read the statements. We need more than words. We need comprehensive immigration reform legislation - now.

For more on NDN's work on comprehensive immigration reform, click here.

NDN Press Release: On immigration, Mr. President, we need more than words

Earlier today I released the following statement to the media:

"In this time of deep partisanship in Washington, there has been one issue on which the President, Senator McCain, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, the Catholic Church, the Chamber of Commerce, numerous labor unions and many other grassroots groups were able to find common cause and work together: the McCain-Kennedy approach to comprehensive immigration reform that passed the Senate with broad bipartisan support in 2006.

Based on various news accounts, the President and his Party appear to be walking away from this broad and deep coalition, abandoning a smart, tough and sensible approach to immigration reform. Floating a brand new approach to immigration reform, the President and his Party have stepped backward and devised a new path that will do much more to please their partisans than solve this important problem. 

We hope that on this vital national issue of immigration, the President doesn't follow the lead of his Party, but rather leads it and the nation to a comprehensive solution this year. While his speech today was one we welcome, the President needs to publicly distance himself from the plan being floated by Senate Republican leaders, and say right now that he intends to pick up where we left off in 2006 - with the McCain-Kennedy approach that has already passed the Republican-controlled Senate. Anything less will show that the President, despite his passionate rhetoric today, is simply not serious about passing comprehensive immigration reform this year.   

Years of work went into crafting the McCain-Kennedy approach. It has made great progress through Congress. It has a deep and broad coalition behind it. Democratic Congressional leaders in both chambers have made it clear that passing this bill this year is a very high priority (see video from our recent event with leaders from both chambers reiterating their support). The new and flawed Republican approach being floated will unravel this coalition, and deal a severe blow to those hoping to pass comprehensive immigration reform this year.

The Republicans lost power in 2006 because their government did not produce the results it had promised and had left many important challenges unmet. At NDN, we believe the American people sent a clear message to Washington to stop playing politics and start focusing on solving a daunting set of 21st century challenges. On this issue of immigration reform, once again the Republicans seem to be on the verge of listening more to their partisans than the American people, and are in the process of walking away from a good and sensible bipartisan solution to a difficult national challenge."

Responding to Tancredo

Today, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO) entered the race to become the next President of the United States. His participation in this campaign guarantees that we will hear more about his policies, which include deporting 12 million people, and we will hear more rhetoric proposing an America whose definition omits a key element of the past that we at NDN hold dear: the value of immigrants.

Today, Congressman Tancredo has given the Hispanic community a reason to stand up and be heard: to silence the xenophobic nature of conservatives like Tom Tancredo and their allies in the Republican Party. Tom Tancredo and others want to take this country towards a future that denies its past and its foundation.

Now we must challenge all presidential candidates to come to the table (or return to the table as in the case of Senator John McCain) and repudiate such positions so we can work towards a responsible, comprehensive solution.

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