Protesters around the nation held rallies and vigils this past weekend during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington to call for Congress to pass immigration reform. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
Time is of the essence for immigration reform advocates urging congress to pass a bill before the end of the year. Even before the looming US involvement in the Syria conflict dominated the attention of lawmakers, Congress was already faced with a short session and overloaded with time-sensitive policy debates. However, to make sure that elected officials don't remove immigration from their radar, a group of immigration reform advocates from around the country announced Thursday they are planning a national mobilization for early October to push for immigration legislation.
The National Day for Dignity and Respect, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 5th, will include marches and rallies that are already being planned in over 60 cities. Organizers said the events will culminate in a rally on October 8th in Washington D.C.
Eliseo Medina, International Secretary-Treasurer for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), says that issues in Syria and fiscal cliff should not divert House attention from immigration legislation. Instead Medina expects lawmakers to be able to "chew gum and walk at the same time," reports NBC Latino. "This is the moment for immigration reform to be approved - public opinion is in favor of reform," she added.
Illinois Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez said he has signed onto proposed legislation, adding "now it's my Republican colleagues' turn to sign it and make it public." Gutierrez said the votes in favor of reform legislation are there, adding that unlike other issues such as health care or the 'fiscal cliff,' there is a bipartisan consensus on reform.
"We have over 218 votes in favor of reform. But what's important is that we continue demanding from the outside; nothing occurs inside Washington DC without demands from outside Washington DC," said Gutierrez.
The organizers have a website, octoberimmigration.org where they are announcing the events for October. LULAC, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, announced that are joining the October 5th event. "As members of our communities across every region in this country, we have to be diligent about passing immigration reform and raising public awareness about its importance," said LULAC National President Margaret Moran.
"There will be no rest," said Adelina Nicholls, Executive Director at the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. , saying more than 100 organizations are holding pro-immigration reform events and actions and more will be added during the next month.