Lawmakers need to heed protesters
Arizona Daily Star
Apr. 11, 2006
Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/123984
Our view: Widespread demonstrations reflect a long-frustrated nationwide need for meaningful immigration-law reform
It's a good thing members of Congress are home for the next two weeks. Maybe hearing the shouts of their constituents firsthand will prompt them to take action and enact meaningful immigration reforms.
Demonstrations in the last couple of days have shown again how important this issue is nationally.
Our community has done its part. We've marched our legs ragged and chanted till our throats were raw. We've missed classes, waved flags, strayed from work, stopped traffic, honked our horns and adopted policies to urge lawmakers to address this important topic.
Voices of the people: In Tucson, more than 10,000 members of our community marched on Monday.
The protests have been going on for weeks. How many will it take for Congress to pass workable, acceptable legislation?
After years of promises and delays, it seemed Congress was on the verge of passing a comprehensive immigration bill last week. Legislation in the Senate that would have offered eventual citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants and increased security along the border seemed to have ample bipartisan support on Thursday. Less than a day later, the bill was all but dead.
Republicans and Democrats blamed each other for the bill's demise, but some have promised to revive the legislation when Congress reconvenes in a couple of weeks.
Voices of the people: Between 350,000 and 500,000 marchers Sunday in Dallas.
In the face of Congress' inaction, our communities are doing the only thing they can: making their voices heard.
Our business leaders are also pushing for comprehensive, intelligent immigration reform.
The Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce have in the last couple of weeks adopted policies on immigration.
Those groups want what others want: better security along the border, a viable guest-worker program, a dependable system to verify that someone is eligible to work in the United States and other reforms.
If our lawmakers won't listen to the shouts of marchers, maybe they'll listen to those in suits and ties who speak a few decibels lower.
Voices of the people: 50,000 marchers Sunday in San Diego.
Republicans and Democrats alike should be aware of the political risks of not reaching a solution on immigration.
"I think it's going to be hard for Democrats to make a big press for votes in the Latino community if their message is 'We stopped immigration reform from happening,' " Cecilia Muņoz, vice president of the National Council of La Raza, a Latino group, told the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday.
"This is not something to be playing politics with. The lives of millions of people in this country are at stake here."
Voices of the people: 20,000 marchers Sunday in Salt Lake City.
The only thing everyone agrees on is that the immigration system is broken. The United States has an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. Half a million more arrive annually, more than enough to create a city the size of Tucson each year.
It's imperative that Congress finds a solution to the problem, because it simply won't disappear.
"We are going to have thousands more people come across illegally. We're going to have people die in the deserts," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told The Chronicle on Friday.
Let's keep the pressure on our lawmakers to work together on illegal immigration. Hopefully, all these marches will lead to a solution.