Last week I met with Congressman Xavier Beccera (D, Ca-31). He called a small group of faith leaders together to talk about Immigration Reform. He is vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the Hispanic Caucus as well. He serves his constituents well.
Immigration Reform is a pressing issue in our country. But as the Congressman reminded us that Washington is so polarized it will be difficult to get anything done, let alone immigration reform. The Republicans put water on any issues they can. They are trying to hold up governing until after the November election.
Immigration Reform isn’t a partisan issue. It is key to dealing with our economy. This has always been a country of immigrants. We Americans come from every nation of the world. Immigrants do so much work that many citizens will not do. And it has always been that way. Even as our nation is in the midst of this economic difficulty immigrants are doing jobs that even those out of work folks won’t touch. It is always that way. But Washington, D.C. has ground to a halt. And with the pending fight over a Supreme Court nomination immigration reform will continue to be at the back burner.
Unless as the Congressman pointed out, “We can find another Republican Senator to come forward.” Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are working together. Schumer is a Democrat and Graham is a Republican. But they are working hard on this issue. But according to Congressman Beccera unless another Republican Senator steps up nothing will get done yet again this year.
The tea party movement though a small group, are vocal and vicious. They rant and rave and Washington is paying attention. A small group of white, angry people who are fueling racist rhetoric in this country and want to pit people against each other are being heard over reasonable middle of the road folks. The tea baggers act as if they own America exclusively. They do not. And Republican operatives are working closely with the Tea Baggers to fuel hatred between different groups, pitting African-Americans against Hispanics in this immigration reform issue. They are playing on tense racial relations around jobs.
Some African-Americans are led to believe that Hispanics are encroaching on their abilities to get work. And yet, Hispanic immigrants have been doing jobs that many don’t want. They are our gardeners and in Los Angeles our housekeepers and nannies. Immigrants are more than just from Hispanic backgrounds. They are from every nation of the world.
Gone are the talks of amnesty. Now it will be status adjustment. Gone are the talks of inclusions instead immigrants will be denied any and all human services from hospital visits to schools. Without paper work even if immigrants are in process and pay fines (which they will have to do) and go “back in the line” behind others they will be denied basic human services.
I have to say this is outrageous to me. Are we so poor a people and cruel a people as to deny education to someone who is here in our neighborhood? Are we so afraid that we would deny medical care to someone who needs it? This is the prevailing wisdom in Washington. It makes me sick. And I hope it would make you sick to your stomach too.
Some of you who read this should remember your own grandparents and great grandparents who were immigrants. Often illegal who worked to make it in America.
Let’s us hope we can do the same for those who are already here.
Today is the fourteenth day of counting of the omer. Which is two weeks of counting.