National leaders as well as grassroots organizers and families held rallies in different parts of the country on Tuesday, as groups intensified their push to urge congressional leaders to move on immigration reform legislation.
In Washington, D.C., members of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the largest coalition of immigrant rights organizations, announced the start of the "Keep Families Together" summit. The two-day meeting includes workshops and strategy sessions as well as meetings and the delivery of petitions to members of Congress.
“Some people may ask why immigrant families keep coming to Washington to push for immigration reform when it is clear that certain members of Congress, especially the Republican Party, have declared this issue dead," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). "Our families will tell Congress this week that we will never stop fighting to keep our families together."
In Arlington, Texas, National Council of La Raza president and CEO Janet Murguia, Catholic and evangelical groups and "Fast for Families" members and leader Eliseo Medina met with Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton. Medina and others also visited other congressional districts to put pressure on GOP members as the House has stalled on immigration reform legislation.
Murguia said they wanted to send a strong message "not just to the members of the Texas congressional delegation that we met with today, but to all members of the House of Representatives that it is time for action, not excuses, on immigration reform.”
"Fast for Families" has been conducting a national tour of 75 congressional districts, as they show in the video below, with two separate bus caravans, one taking a southern route, another taking a northern route. The fasters are going to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin this week.
Immigrants rights groups are not just focusing on the lack of action in Congress regarding immigration reform. We Belong Together and FIRM are planning a National Day of Action Against Deportations on April 5th. Recently NCLR's Janet Murguia made headlines when she called Obama the "Deporter in Chief, "to draw attention to the fact that the administration has deported almost 2 million undocumented immigrants, though many Republicans in Congress express skepticism that Obama has not been strong enough on enforcement.
"President Obama has nothing more to prove on enforcement," said CHIRLA's Salas, adding that Obama has to become "the president of family unity."