By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
Pro-immigration activists want the Obama Administration to approach immigration reform with a much stronger sense of urgency than it has shown so far, as Feet in 2 Worlds reported yesterday. As Thursday’s much-awaited –and twice-cancelled— White House meeting with lawmakers on the issue approaches, some activists are trying to ramp up the pressure.
News and advocacy organization New America Media is asking ethnic media nationwide to simultaneously publish the same editorial “calling for urgent immigration reform.”
The editorial asks the White House and Congress to “move quickly” to pass reform that will “remove the term ‘illegal or undocumented immigrants’ from the dialogue in this country,” according to a copy provided by NAM. It calls the current immigration system “inefficient, inhumane and economically debilitating” and “broken” for both undocumented and specialized workers, as well as for families trying to reunite.
The text also urges ethnic media readers and viewers to contact their representatives in Congress “and let them know that immigration reform must be a national priority.” [ You can read the full text below. ]
“We felt this was too important an issue for ethnic media to stand on the sidelines,” said Marcelo Ballvé, of New America Media, in an e-mail to FI2W. “The system is broken, as all sides agree — and it is ethnic media’s audiences who are affected the most.”
The organization hopes that audiences will “engage more directly with this issue, with their media as a forum, but also individually by writing letters, emails, and calling Congress and the White House, and have their opinions heard outside their communities,” Ballvé added. “We do hope for the ethnic media sector to be noticed or acknowledged as a key bridge to public debate for ethnic and immigrant audiences.”
Ballvé said the effort is not a direct reflection of some advocates’ disatisfaction with President Barack Obama’s deliberate approach to immigration reform.
“But we do believe the issue is urgent. If our call adds to the feeling of urgency, and opens up more channels for engagement with the immigration issue at this crucial juncture, then we’re happy with that result,” he said.
Ethnic media “has increased its audience by 16% in the last four
years” to almost 60 million Americans, NAM noted in a press release.
“With mainstream media in trouble, and the country undergoing a period of economic crisis, ethnic media is being called upon not only to inform but also to engage our communities in the democratic process,” it added.
NAM is making the editorial available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Arabic and asking news organizations to publish it next week, according to the release. Next Monday, it said, it will announce how many news outlets are joining the effort to publish it.
Here is the full text:
Time for Immigration Reform is Now
The White House and members of Congress must move quickly on enacting a just and humane immigration reform package that will reunite families, reinvigorate the economy, and remove the term “illegal or undocumented immigrants” from the dialogue in this country. Ethnic media, which reaches over 60 million adults in the United States, calls on Congress to move decisively on immigration reform because there are few issues as important to the nation’s well-being as an overhaul of the inefficient, inhumane and economically debilitating immigration system. More importantly, we are also urging our readers and viewers to contact their Senators and Congressmen and let them know that immigration reform must be a national priority.
The immigration system is broken not just for 12 million undocumented immigrants, but also for specialized workers blocked from joining the American economy because of narrow quotas, and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who must wait for years before being reunited with their families.
Our nation needs comprehensive immigration policies that will replace a broken system of raids and roundups with one that protects all workers from exploitation, improves America’s security and builds strong communities. It’s time to end the division between workers, which has allowed big business to exploit both sides. Clearly, working-class citizens and immigrant workers have much in common – dreams of better homes, education for their families and quality healthcare. There is more that brings us together, than separates us. United we can be a strong force for change, changes that that bring more workforce safety and humane conditions.
Immigration is often portrayed as an explosive, divisive issue. In reality it’s not. Since the repeal of the national origins quota system in 1965, which discriminated against certain immigrants, a consensus has been building towards an immigration system that respects the country’s core values. These include economic opportunity, equality under the law regardless of ethnic background, and an embrace of the world’s most innovative, energetic and ambitious workers. Now, with the country facing serious competition from workers abroad, it’s more important than ever to create a world-class immigration system. It’s good for families, good for communities and good for America.