By Javier Rodriguez from Mariachi Plaza 9 July 2014
To all friends and family, tomorrow July 10, 2013, the Republicans in the House will meet to decide the fate of the immigration reform bill S744. From looking at their recent voting pattern it all indicates they will vote to bury it, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. However, the present study by Latino Decisions unequivocally points to a major loss for Republicans in the mid term elections of 2014 and the most likely scenario is for House Democrats to regain the majority. If so, that will set the stage for a another major battle to win legalization and the path to citizenship for the Undocumented Americans (UAs) and their families in 2015.
Do keep this deeply in your mind: there are an estimated 11.5 million UAs in the country, however the passage of reform will also directly benefit their 5 million US born children and their 2.5 million spouses married to them. That is 19 million of our people directly affected by a failed and archaic immigration reality waiting and hoping to move forward without the giant ICE elephant in their living rooms, neighborhoods and school halls; Plus the legal right to travel and the strong possibility of legally and expeditiously bringing back their deported fathers and mothers as well as spouses. Additionally, 80% of the 50.5 million Latinos in the US have the same aspirations and this we know because the overwhelming majority of the polls scream these facts and sentiments and the voting results of November 2012 confirmed it.
Lastly, the number one legislation priority in the country is resolving the immigration issue, fixing the broken system and giving a major push to the economy and these are the reasons why the majority of all the social forces in support of immigration reform, -that is 90% of all faith congregations, 99.9% of organized Labor, over 42 major industries, including all electronics and social networks, an unprecedented amount of universities and colleges, a reported majority of the chambers of Commerce in the country, African Americans, Asians, Latinos and immigrant and civil rights organizations- are gearing up for an unprecedented campaign of lobbying and political pressure on the Republican House, with precision strategic targets on the right wing Congress persons in D.C. and their districts. The pro forces also include all the country’s Latino media plus a huge number of the nation’s major newspapers.
I’m including two pieces below for your reading -one by Rebecca Kaplan in the Science Monitor and two, by Antonieta Cadiz of La Opinion- which outline the pro sectors and paint a broad immigration picture of these political forces at play. That is the correlation of forces in favor of assuring the reform passes in 2013. Additionally, please see the link to the innovative study by “Latino Decisions.Wordpress.com.”
Please stay on top of and actively participate in this next and decisive final battle.
*Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. A long time social activist, he spent 22 years as a labor organizer and adviser for rank and file movements; directed the mass street mobilizations of 1982-86, in LA that led up to the Amnesty Law IRCA of 1986; He was also the initiator and directed the making of the 1.7 million historical immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006, as well as the May 1st 2006 Great American Boycott. Presently he is involved in building La Universidad Obrera de Mexico-Los Angeles and in 2012, traveled for 5 ½ months thru Mexico observing and writing about the country’s political process, the aftermath of a highly questioned presidential election, the drug war and migrants. Blog Larayueldejavier.wordpress.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
New Post LatinoDecisions.Wordpress.com
by Matt Barreto
Despite growing popular support among non-Latinos both nationally and in key swing states in favor of immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, the conventional wisdom suggests that the bipartisan legislation that recently passed the Senate faces an uphill battle in the Republican controlled House of Representatives. Many point to the June 6th party line House vote to defund President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and Speaker Boehner’s recent comments that he will only bring an immigration bill to the floor if it is supported by a majority of Republicans (the “Hastert Rule”) as evidence that the House is unlikely to produce legislation in line with Senate Bill 744. An in-depth review of all 435 House districts suggests that this conventional wisdom is wrong.
Advocates of Senate Bill Turn Their Attention to the House
When House members left for the July Fourth recess, the prospects for an immigration overhaul in the lower chamber were slim. When members return this week, they will be greeted by the full attention of a coalition of advocates who helped push the Senate bill to completion and who are now turning their sights to the House.
The coming campaign will include efforts to mobilize grassroots actions through town-hall meetings and voter registration drives aimed at Latinos, television and radio ads, and lobbying from representatives of crop growers, high-tech employers, religious leaders, and more.
Several advocacy groups say between 20 and 40 Republican members are ripe targets for aye votes, particularly those whose districts have a growing Hispanic population. The National Council of La Raza is zeroing in on 20 to 26 members, many of whom represent districts where 20 percent or more of voters are Hispanic. Frank Sharry, the executive director of the pro-reform group America’s Voice, estimated that 35 Republicans are “vulnerable to demographic shifts.” At the end of June, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y., circulated a list of 23 “persuadable Republicans,” including 12 in districts in which more than 10 percent of the voting-age population is Hispanic. The districts, all of which President Obama won with at least 46 percent of the vote in 2012, are in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
“I think the idea is to pressure the House Republicans right, left, and center, and to do everything we can to bring outside pressure on them to get them to give us a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship,” Sharry said. “I actually think the House guys, they’ve sort of retreated a bit into their comfort zone, and I’m quite optimistic that our movement and our allies across the political spectrum will jolt them out.”
Some members will be hit multiple times. Republican Reps. Buck McKeon of California, Mike Coffman of Colorado, Dan Webster of Florida, and Michael Grimm of New York are all targeted by both the DCCC and the Center for Community Change, which last week launched a $1 million campaign consisting of paid media, field activities, and lobbying visits to pressure the House to pass an immigration bill before lawmakers leave for the monthlong August recess.
“Those are all members that we think are winnable, and we’ve seen some progress in their statements and had meetings where we believe that they will pay attention to the changing demographics in their district and are amenable to a bill,” said Jeff Parcher, communications director at the Center for Community Change.
In addition, the group is targeting the House Republican leadership, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who runs the National Republican Campaign Committee.
Several House members also stand to end up in the cross-hairs of high-tech advocates, who will lobby the House after successfully enlisting the help of Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch to get some of their top priorities included in the Senate immigration bill.
“Our goal is to make sure that every House member understands that skilled immigration matters to each and every one of them in some way, shape, or form,” said Robert Hoffman, senior vice president for government affairs at the Information Technology Industry Council.
His group—which met with almost every senator’s office to lobby for the immigration bill in the upper chamber—is still developing its list of top targets. A report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute shows that several Republicans represent areas with a big percentage of high-tech jobs. Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama represents parts of Huntsville, where 22.4 percent of jobs were in high-tech in 2011. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., represents parts of Wichita and its 14.8 percent of high-tech jobs. Reps. Bill Posey of Florida, Duncan Hunter of California, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, and Doug Lamborn of Colorado all represent districts that included cities with more than 10 percent of jobs in the industry.
The broad coalition of groups backing the Senate immigration bill also includes religious leaders, notably the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention. Kevin Appleby, director of migration policy and public affairs for the USCCB, said his group would focus in particular on organizing parishes and arranging meetings with Catholic representatives who would be receptive to the bishops’ message. Thirty-one percent of House members are Catholic, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life; 61 of those are Republicans.
“You’re never going to persuade some, but in terms of all the advocacy, they haven’t felt the maximum pressure yet,” Appleby said.
While the broad coalition around the Senate bill comprised of business, labor, agriculture, high-tech, faith leaders, Hispanic community advocates, and otehrs coalesced around the Senate bill in recent months, they won’t necessarily all be pressuring the House to take up that bill (Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a leader of the Gang of Eight, predicted on Fox News recently that the House will do so). Most advocates will insist on a comprehensive bill with a pathway to citizenship, but they realize the House is a different animal, and they think pushing the House and Senate to get to a conference committee is a more realistic goal.
“The most effective thing we can advocate for is a process that results in both the House and Senate sitting down,” Hoffman said. “We all have to do our part to get the House ready to support as comprehensive an approach as possible.”
Some advocates are waiting to finalize their lobbying strategy until after a House GOP meeting scheduled for July 10, when the members will have their first conference-wide discussion of immigration.
“We’re anxious to see how that begins to play out in the House, and we’re eager to play a role that’s best suited for us in making reform a reality,” said Dan Conston, a spokesman for the American Action Network, a conservative, pro-reform group that recently launched a $50,000 ad buy on Fox News in Florida to urge support for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Gang of Eight.
Nearly all the coalition members are working on mobilizing grassroots support for their cause. The National Council of La Raza, for example, is planning a “saturation” of Spanish-language media and voter-registration drives to motivate the Hispanic community.
As for opponents of the Senate bill, they already feel like they’ve scored a major victory by getting House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to pledge he wouldn’t bring a bill to the floor either before or after conference without majority support from his Republican members.
“I feel pretty confident that we can keep opposition somewhere between 80 and 95 percent,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, which seeks to limit immigration levels. Beck said his group, which has been working to build support in the House all year, will also try to win the allegiance of Democrats who are concerned that an increase in legal immigration levels will hurt American wages.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy’s California district covers an area with a high percentage of high-tech jobs.
Crece el cabildeo por la reforma
PUBLICADO: Jul, 5, 2013 12:00 am EST Jul 5, 2013 12:00 am EST
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Las puertas del Capitolio se abren y cierran para cabilderos, ese es el negocio de todos los días. Cientos de personas que representan a intereses especiales llegan a la hora concertada para hablar con el personal de los congresistas o, si tienen más influencia, directamente con los legisladores.
Ese cabildeo ha registrado un auge considerable en 2013, principalmente impulsado por industrias o grupos en pro o en contra de una reforma migratoria.
En lo que va del año, más de 200 compañías y organizaciones de derechos civiles incluyeron el tema de “reforma migratoria” en su lista de prioridades legislativas (recortes al presupuesto, impuestos a ventas por Internet, préstamos estudiantiles) y para respaldar su esfuerzo han invertido un total de 71 millones de dólares.
Sólo en el sector de negocios, más de 50 empresas demostraron interés por influenciar el debate migratorio con una inversión total en cabildeo este año de más de 29 millones de dólares. Entre los más destacados figuran entidades como la Cámara de Comercio (10 millones de dólares), Motorola, Walmart y Yumi.
El área de tecnologías de la información, que ha invertido un total de 15 millones de dólares en cabildeo, ha sido un nuevo actor intentando influenciar la conversación en este Congreso con más de 40 organizaciones registrando la propuesta migratoria entre sus intereses, entre ellas están compañías como IBM, Google, Oracle, Microsoft, HP y Facebook, Sólo este último invirtió 2.45 millones de dólares en cabildeo para el Senado.
“Creo que la industria de la informática ha sido una de las fuerzas más influyentes en este ciclo, no sólo por sus recursos, sino por su estatus de celebridad”, indicó Sheila Krumholz, directora de Center for Responsive Politics. “Hemos visto un gran aumento en la inversión para esta área. Lo más notorio es la variedad de intereses que se ha involucrado en este sector”.
Según Krumholz, lo que se ve en los registros (de la lista de cabilderos) es solo una parte, porque también hay un lobby que no figura en los documentos oficiales y no hay forma de medirlo.
Otros sectores que también están cabildeando por la reforma migratoria, aunque con un menor nivel de inversión, ( 6 millones de dólares) es el agrícola con más de 31 entidades y el de educación — con más de 26 universidades— que ha invertido cerca de 5 millones de dólares.
Unas 28 organizaciones de derechos civiles han invertido unos 2 millones de dólares.
Esto además de 15 sindicatos con 3.5 millones de dólares en gastos.
Una fuente que trabajó en el área de inmigración en la oficina del congresista Xavier Becerra (D-CA) aseguró que de 2010 a 2012, el cabildeo para la reforma migratoria no atrajo tanto dinero como ahora porque no había mucho interés por parte de los legisladores en este tema.
“Teníamos reuniones, discusiones, pero sin un proyecto de ley específico, no duró mucho tiempo”, comentó.
“Para que uno de estos encuentros sean efectivos debes lograr poner al congresista o a su personal en el récord respecto a su apoyo para una iniciativa en particular. Si eso no existe, es fácil para ellos decir que respaldan el concepto”, dijo.
Para varios líderes proinmigrantes, el verdadero cambio en el Capitolio sobre el debate migratorio no se dio por las inversiones previas y actuales en cabildeo, sino por las elecciones presidenciales de 2012.
“El poder de los votantes hispanos es la única razón por la que estamos en este punto. No importa cuánto se gaste en lobby, la presión política es lo más efectivo. Esto es lo único con la potencia suficiente de crear un proyecto de ley”, explicó Ali Noorani, director ejecutivo de National Immigration Forum.
“Una vez que ya existe una propuesta es importante, entonces como organización tratamos de influenciar directamente las conversaciones”, agregó.
Para que el cabildeo sea realmente efectivo, debe existir un proyecto de ley que llegue a las manos del Presidente para su promulgación. La reforma migratoria recién ha superado su primer obstáculo, pero aún no está claro si se logrará la meta final.