By Javier Rodriguez, Isabel Rodriguez, Antonio Rodriguez, Jacobo Rodriguez, Francisco Paco Rodriguez, Ricardo Rodriguez, Jaime Rodriguez and Marianna Herrera
- Obama to Hispanic Caucus: “If Congress doesn’t act on reform in 90 days, I will use bold executive authority.”
- Chicago calls for 90 days of action and move millions to march.
- Arellano: “On May 1st No Work, No School and no Deportations.”
- The road to passing legislation leads through the White House door of executive action.
- The national pressure is on: NDLON led activists protest in 80 cities; After 27,000 miles and 92 Congressional Districts, the Fast for Families and We Belong Together tour arrives in DC; from coast to coast, civil disobedience increases; Deported DREAMers and families Xross the border and demand asylum.The Chicago demonstration, the largest to date, definitely marks the pace for the movement as a whole, because it calls for an increase of targeted political pressure on the president through out the 90 days he asked for in a recent meeting with Gutierrez and other members of the Hispanic Caucus. As expected, the president finally committed, for the first time, to take “bold executive action” if Congress fails to pass the awaited legislation on reform. The bold executive decrees expected by these leaders are the coveted protection given to the DREAMers in 2012 for all the undocumented now living within the USA, in addition to extending those rights to all deportees with no serious criminal record, to return and unify with their families.Clearly -as we the Rodriguez brothers and sisters recently wrote in a lengthy article that was published nationally, pointing out, that what was missing in the struggle for reform was the massive street movement of 2006, the call from Chicago proposes to the nation to mobilize the masses of the people, by the millions. Additionally, the strategy of popular political pressure on the President inherently carries the double objective of cracking the back of reactionary Republicans in Congress to wrest the big prize of comprehensive reform: We have wasted too much time knocking at the door of Republican Congressmen. Our unified vote convinced Republican Party leaders that their party can never win the White House unless they pass immigration reform, but they cannot act without rank and file Republicans. Those rank and file Republicans will never act to pass immigration reform as long as the President is deporting 1100 people a day – as long as the President is doing what they want.”At this moment the Chicago plan appears to be the most comprehensive: A) Politically it maintains a clear line on demanding a stop to deportations and the brutal separation of families, calling for executive action and the same kind of protection the President decreed for the 1.7million DREAMers in 2012, and b) Not allowing the immediate crisis to cloud their vision and leave out the long term goal of comprehensive immigration reform, the Grand Prize of this 28 year old struggle. They see clearly the political pressure has to be exerted on both fronts, Obama and the Republicans, and c) organizationally, as we do, they probably see the existing favorable conditions for the mass mobilization of millions unto to the streets, to engage the whole country in support of the demands. In comparison2) The Fast for Families circle, reeling from the success of last year’s national fast for families which moved large and important sectors, including clergy and top politicians –Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi to name a few- just completed a national caravan which traveled 27,000` miles and visited 92 Congressional Districts, primarily speaking out for immigration reform and strategically targeting the pressure on the Republicans in their home bases. 4) The radical DREAMers which instituted the border which allowed almost 200 deportees to return to the US including Arellano have set a radical creative bar bringing new alternative tactics to the strategy of reuniting families and exposing the brutality and senseless deportations of non criminal immigrants. These groups and their leaders essentially –and there are more- exhibit a high moral ground in national public opinion and a vast national network which if pulled together, can probably succeed in reaching the goal of mobilizing millions as Chicago proposes. We speculate Elvira’s remarkable return to the US will add a much needed voice of national leadership, meaning another figure of popular stature which has also been one of the missing pieces in the equation of this epical struggle. Especially because she is charismatic, undocumented, a woman and a mother who with her son spent a year in a progressive activist sanctuary church defying a deportation order. Heroically, she then left the protective spot in August of 2007 and clandestinely traveled directly to Los Angeles -the city that initially placed her on the national map and made her and her son Saul national figures- because she wanted to spark life into the movement. Today she is a former deportee who took advantage of the border opening created by the radical wing of the dreamer movement and like a miracle of struggle, is now back in the good old USA and once again in high gear. Proof of this is the unmatched homecoming gathering described above with 300 clergy and the mass of people motivated with her return to the windy city that saw her rise.Unfortunately, in contrast in LA, the divisions are so marked that for this year’s May 1st opportunity to contribute and build an unequivocal show of force, with a unified massive march, and also set the pace for the rest of the nation, once again the movement is fractionalized and several marches are scheduled. Instead of strengthening our position against the Republican far right, the anti immigrant national organizations and ICE, they will take notice. Essentially the same “2009” mentality of Sharks and Coyotes is prevalent and continues unabated, ZAZ. *Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. His blog is Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com. Isabel is a long time activist, a member of the Millions of Voices Coalition and presently is on her final year at Cal State University LA Masters on History and Latin America. Antonio is also a long time activist, a civil rights attorney and a former contributor to LA Times and La Opinion Op-Ed pages. Jaime is a long time social activist and presently serves as a field deputy in California’s Senate District 30th? Jacobo is a retiree, a bail bondsman, a long time community activist and a former labor organizer. Ricardo, a former student leader, just led and completed a successful union drive for 500 workers in Barstow with United Electrical and Machine Workers Union-UE, a Gourmet Chef and Caterer. Mariana is also an activist, an MA Therapist, has two masters and is a Theater Playwright for CASA 0101 in Boyle Heights.
- To be truthful, when the request made to President Calderon to give her diplomatic status to return to the United States failed, and the fact that she was removed during the presidency of George W. Bush, a reactionary Republican, because she was a recognized leader with no criminal record, we didn’t expect her back.
- When she was arrested in LA and deported in less than 12 hours to Tijuana, she was already a relentless and intrepid national figure and that trajectory was immediately placed in high gear in Mexico. Her spectacular arrival galvanized public opinion to the point that it forced President Felipe Calderon to grant her a private meeting. He offered her a home and scholarships for her son, and though she was living in utter poverty in Michoacán, a highly dangerous place, she graciously rejected them, informing him she was meeting with him on behalf of the people. To our knowledge and Javier traveled and spent time with her in 2012 in Mexico City and Tabasco border where thousands of Hondurans cross into Mexico and begin their long journey to America on “The Beast,” in her 7 year stay in her home country, she was probably the spokesperson that was most interviewed by the mainstream local and internationally media on the issues of Central American migration through Mexico, the struggle to defend them as well as the fight -in Mexico- for immigration reform in the US.
- In her most recent article, Arellano calls for a May 1st with No Work, No School and No Deportations and we propose NO REPUBLICANS. If the one day boycott materializes, it will be a first for Chicago.
- 5) The organizational and political success exhibited in the March 27 Chicago Homecoming for Elvira events by the Chicago circle composed of Gutierrez, Arellano, Rev. Lozano and Rev. Coleman, which is one of three city factions, has the campaign trail experience in mobilizing national public opinion through several tours, as well as co-leading the mass marches of 2005 and 2006 in Chicago and a vast reserve of contacts in several levels. With Cong. Gutierrez, the most recognized and popular figure in this struggle, it is also the only one with direct access to the White House.
- 3) The FIRM Coalition, considered the largest amalgam of organizations in the country, as soon as the Republicans backtracked on the principles, began setting up the punishment phase leading to the November elections. It should be noted that this is the D.C. based organization that emanated from a 2008 national conference that set up the massive petitions, organized telephone conferences of over 60, 000 activists and convened the 200,000 people national march on March 21, 2010 in the Capitol.
- 1) the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, the leading group behind the grass roots recent protests in 50 to 80 cities primarily stands on the abolition of deportations demand.
- “What is clear now is that the road to passing legislation leads through the White House door of executive action. The threat of executive action is the only hope of bringing the congress to act. The reality of executive action is the only way reactionary members of the Republican caucus can be brought to the table.
- However, the movement leaders are not waiting. They are clearly defining a path of action to get to the Promised Land: Familias Latinas Unidas Co-Chair Emma Lozano joined Elvira Arellano in calling for 90 days of action. “We must stand against every single deportation and we must stand with every single family that has been separated to reunite them. We must organize mass civil disobedience. We must march and march and march until the streets are filled with our millions.”
- At the rally, Gutierrez explained his recent negotiations with the President. “The president has asked for 90 days to see if the Republican Congress will finally act. If not, he has committed to the use of bold executive authority.”
- In a spectacular comeback Chicago homecoming for Elvira Arellano held on March 27, 2014, over 300 pastors plus 1500 immigrant rights leaders and activists, including Cong. Luis Gutierrez and Rev. Emma Lozano, staged a rally, then marched to ICE headquarters where a reported 50 participants were arrested in another major demonstration of Civil Disobedience. The organizers envision the multifaceted strategy and militant actions will set the pace for the national movement for the next 90 days. Obviously, injected with the energy of social adrenaline, the pastors pointed to “Elvira’s miraculous return as cause for new hope in the [immigration reform] movement in Chicago.”