A project of the Center for Community Change

Elections

I Voted for the Candidate Who Supports Compassionate Immigration Reform

Lilia A. from Nevada explains why she voted for the candidate that supports compassionate and comprehensive immigration reform.

My community and life were rocked last year when one of my good friends was deported during a workplace raid in Nevada. A hardworking Mexican immigrant with no criminal record, she was dropped off in Tijuana with no money and little means to communicate with the husband and three young children she left behind in our community. As a mother, I cannot imagine how her children and spouse felt in the days after this traumatic event.

Can you imagine what it would be like to not wake up next to the person you are married to each day? To not know when you will see them again or how and when you will be reunited? Can you imagine what it would be like to be a young child and suddenly lose the single most influential person in your life? To not hear her comforting voice or feel her touch when you are sick? Unfortunately, my friend’s story is all too common these days. Millions of hardworking parents and older siblings are being deported across the country.

I immigrated to this country with a dream to give my children access to high-quality education and a bright future. Other mothers and fathers have left their countries with similar dreams. They are willing to sacrifice anything to see their children end up better off and more educated. We all come to the United States with a desire to do any type of work possible so that we can provide for our children here, and the families we so painfully leave behind. We do so, because we believe in our children and the American dream.

My friend who was deported worked for years in pursuit of a better life for her children. She never committed a crime. She participated in parent-teacher conferences, went to church each Sunday, helped her children with their homework, and paid her taxes. Now she is gone, and a huge void remains.

Our immigration system is broken, and I chose to vote on November 6th for the only candidate who presented ideas to fix the immigration policies that separate families: President Obama. I want the President to know that now is the time to work with Congress to pass compassionate immigration reform. We elected you for a second term because we know you care. We know it will not be easy, but we believe in hope and a better tomorrow. That is why we came to the United States. That is why we overwhelmingly supported you on Election Day. We know you will work to ensure families are able to stay together. Please, do not let us down.

Keeping Families Together

Grassroots immigrant rights organizations from around the country, part of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), have worked tirelessly for months to register over 75,000 Latino and immigrant voters and to turn 175,275 people out to the polls on Election Day, November 6. In a press call Thursday afternoon, representatives of the organizations discussed their goals for the election and their achievements thus far. Rudy Lopez, National Political Director for the Campaign for Community Change summarized their mission, “Our work and the motivation of our voters can be boiled down to one message: keeping families together.”

Political pundits and analysts would have you believe that this election is exclusively about jobs and the economy—but for Latinos and other people of color who have been targets of racial profiling, for the immigrants who’ve lived in fear of deportation, and for the millions of people who’ve been personally affected by the deportation of a loved one, this election signifies something entirely different: that our families are at stake.

On election night and the days after, many of these immigrant rights groups will host vigils and rallies in cities across the country celebrating the culmination of voter registration and turn-out efforts, as well as the political strength of the community and their commitment to comprehensive immigration reform.For many immigrants and Latinos, this election is deeply personal. The previous two years have seen the rise of anti-immigrant politicians and legislation nation-wide, coinciding with over a million deportations of non-criminals that have shattered families. Angelica Salas, Chair of the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Las Angeles Action Fund, described the commitment of advocacy groups to reform and emphasized the potential of immigrant rights voters, “Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters have been cruelly and permanently separated from their families by the failure to pass immigration reform. This election is a marker for our escalating power, our surging unity and our renewed commitment. We will not cease until we achieve immigration reform that keeps our families together.”

“Latinos and immigrants will vote in unprecedented numbers,” predicted Lawrence Benito, Executive Director of the Illinois Immigration Action, “because their families are at stake. The villains in this story are all those who seek to divide us: politicians who dehumanize immigrant families to score political points; hate-mongers panicked by demographic shifts; and corporations who profit from the detention of our family members.”

Polls indicate that President Obama has a massive lead over Governor Romney among Latino voters—73% to 21%. This comes as no surprise considering that for many Latinos, immigrants, and people of color, this election is a choice between an incumbent who—while overseeing record-high deportations—initiated the DACA program, supported comprehensive reform and DREAM Act legislation, challenged Arizona’s SB 1070 in the Supreme Court, and promised to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in his second term, and a challenger who has taken every opportunity to position himself in the way of reform, who’s advocated for self-deportation, promised to veto the DREAM Act and abolish DACA, and cozied up with anti-immigrant figures like Kris Kobach , Steve King, and Joe Arpaio.

In addition to measuring the success of the registration and organization efforts undertaken by the FIRM coalition and other organizations, the results of this election will serve as a referendum on what the future of immigration reform in this country will be—reform or self-deportation.

National Organizations Announce Record Latino Voter Mobilization Effort

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The nation’s leading Latino advocacy and civil rights non-profit organizations have come together to mobilize eligible Latino voters across the country, protect their right to vote, and ensure that they remain a vital part of our democracy amid an increasing onslaught of discriminatory policies; including this week’s upholding of the racial profiling provision of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law by the Supreme Court.

As a diverse and multi-issue electorate, the Latino community also awaits policy developments on the issues all Americans care about: the economy, education, and healthcare.

The non-partisan effort will register over 400,000 Latinos to vote, and mobilize more than 700,000 registered Latino voters in several states across the nation.  The effort will also equip Latino voters with the skills and resources they need to become fully engaged in American democracy. These organizations include the Center for Community Change, the Hispanic Federation, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, the NALEO Educational Fund, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Presente, and Voto Latino.  The combined effort will include work in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

“We will make our voices heard above the noise of political campaigns and show that Latino communities, their families and friends represent powerful constituencies at the ballot box, and a vital component of a vibrant country and healthy democracy,” said Rudy Lopez, National Political Director for the Center for Community Change.

“Latinos are part of America’s DNA and our voters will grow the ranks of those who care about solving the nation’s most pressing challenges.  It’s about solution, and it’s about respect—we are organizing and elevating the issues that matter to bring about change,” said Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, NCLR Director of Civic Engagement.

“This program is designed to build a long-term vision that extends beyond 2012,’ said Jose Calderón, President of Hispanic Federation. “Our goal is to build sustainable electoral capacity that steadily grows an engaged participatory electorate.”

“The current and future vitality of our nation depends upon our ability to successfully integrate new Americans into our social and economic systems, and to empower all Americans to be active participants in civic affairs,” said Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund. “This coordinated initiative will help ensure Latinos are woven into the fabric of the American democracy this November, and beyond.”

“In a political environment that has never been more negative – even hostile – towards the Latino community, Latino citizens are responding with a positive message by getting more engaged in the democratic process of our country,” said Ben Monterroso, National Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota Education Fund. ” Mi Familia Vota and our community allies will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Latino participation reaches an all-time high in the November election. And by investing in the current and long-term capacity of our groups, we intend to strengthen the civic infrastructure of Latino communities for many election cycles to come.”

 

Follow FIRM on Twitter @Re4mImmigration

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