Tweeters Focus on Immigration Reform, Not Deportation Halt

Image: Rally for comprehensive immigration reform on the West Front of the US Capitol
File photo of people showing their support during a rally for comprehensive immigration reform on the West Front of the US Capitol in Washington DC, USA, 10 April 2013. Several thousand people attended the rally. MICHAEL REYNOLDS / EPA

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Although much of the recent focus on immigration has shifted to the President and deportations, a loosely-organized group is trying to blow up Twitter by targeting Congress to advance immigration reform legislation.

The group, using the hashtag #TNTweeters, has about 200 people trying to do 300 tweets a day on immigration reform. They are retweeting daily tweets to members of Congress who have not signed a petition filed by Democrats to force a vote on HR 15, the House Democrats’ immigration reform bill. Most of their tweets are to Republicans.

But they also are targeting the eight Democrats who have not signed the discharge petition.

They also are tweeting about what they see as the fallacy of putting all efforts on forcing executive action by President Barack Obama on deportations.

Christian, 34, of Nashville, Tenn. is one of the organizers of the Twitter campaign. He is undocumented and did not want his last name used. Christian said most of the people involved know one another only online. Christian said he was invited to join a pro-immigration reform Facebook group and in working with that group’s creator they came up with the idea to do the Twitter campaign. He said the campaign allows people who may not be able to attend marches and rallies to advocate for advancement of legislation in Congress.

The loose-knit group of people does not support pressing Obama to use executive powers to suspend deportation, Christian said. “We do not believe that will be a solution to the problem. We believe it will be a Band-Aid,” he said.

Christian said he understands why some people are pushing for Obama to act. But if Obama takes action, it will be used as an excuse by Republicans not to act on legislation, he said.

“At this point we feel the discharge petition is the only solution to put a bill on the floor,” Christian said. “They say we don’t have the votes (for the bill to pass) … If they know that for a fact, why don’t they put the bill on the floor?”