While everyone was still riding high on the wave of excitement from the March For America, there was a group of 75 activists that woke up that next morning ready for more.
Early Monday morning, the group of youth, faith leaders and immigration advocates entered the Republican National Committee (RNC) headquarters with one goal: a meeting with RNC Chairman Michael Steele about GOP support for immigration reform.
The group quietly and peacefully walked into the headquarters and staged a sit-in, praying, singing and sharing stories while RNC employees tried their best to ignore them and go about business as usual.
Nathan Ryan of ICIRR was there:
As people at the RNC continued to try and operate normally, we prayed for families destroyed by deportations, waived signs that said “Destroying Families is not a Family Value” and chanted.
Then we added another layer of pressure: dozens of supporters picketed outside the office in the pouring rain, chanting and singing.
Here I would like to note that while we were marching by the hundreds of thousands on Sunday, the nation’s capitol was drenched in sunshine and warm weather. I think it only fitting that this action was done under adverse conditions, adding to the show of unrelenting pressure on the Republican party to support immigration reform.
And we won. Eventually, we got a hold of RNC Deputy Director of Coalitions Manuel “Manny” A. Rosales, who talked to Steele. Steele agreed to a meeting on March 31st with 6 of our representatives from around the country.
It has been stated over and over that immigration reform is a bipartisan issue. But with much of the GOP ready and willing to throw immigrants under the bus for political gain, the road ahead is a steep one. Republicans would do well, however, to heed the research being done by groups like America’s Voice, when considering their position on this issue. There is a midterm election in just a few short months and Latino and New American voters are a force to be reckoned with.
“Immigration reform has always been a bipartisan issue, and we need today’s Republican Party to show the same leadership as Bush and Reagan,” Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told the activists rallying outside the RNC. “If Republican politicians choose to play politics with the lives of immigrants and their families, Latino and immigrant voters will not forget who stood against reform in November.”
In the mean time, the hard-hitting organizing happening at both the local and National level will continue. As it should be