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Vote 4 immigration reform! Call your senator!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Las Vegas RIFA a Big Hit, immigration reform around corner, CIR Likely 2010


rifa vegas

“Colorado, Apoya

La Reforma Migratoria

De Washington y Nevada, 

Haciendo Historia!”


Photograph from Reform Immigration For America Rifa Website


The Colorado delegation of the Reform Immigration For America (RIFA) march in Las Vegas, Nevada, chanted last Saturday, April 10th, 2010.  Nearly 10,000 people from the Western United States crammed the streets outside the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Sin City to support comprehensive immigration reform!   They call it CIR, and it represents a movement to settle conservatives fears over border protection while addressing the desperate plight of millions of people who seek to keep their families intact and gain a nibble of the American Dream.


The chant translates to:


“Colorado, approves immigration reform.  From Washington to Nevada we are making history!”


in the street The Reform Immigration For America (RIFA) movement is very different from the last immigration reform push.  T



We join hands for immigration reform

his time around, the movement has enlisted the aid of the nation’s youth.  Millions of young people understand how our broken immigration system is affecting them and they are learning what to do about it.  This is democracy in action!


For example, children of undocumented immigrants have a difficult time finding a path to education.  Many institutions of ‘higher learning’ don’t allow immigrants without documentation.  Today’s 18 year old whose parents brought him to the U.S. can’t easily get the necessary documents.  It is not his fault he was brought here.  Sending him home breaks up the family and leaves him in a land he does not know in a culture he may not understand and forced to speak a language he has not learned.


Other schools insist on charging out-of-state tuition to student-residents who have lived in-state all of their lives.  Out-of-state tuition is prohibitive so immigrant youths who generally come from poor families are effectively locked out of a college education and the opportunity that makes great citizens.  Without an opportunity to improve themselves we are condemning a generation of immigrant youth to lives of poverty, perpetuating the chain and creating a second class society.


We had been standing in the heat for over four hours on a spring day in Las Vegas.  


in street

“Drink more water” they yelled at us from the stage.  “If you can keep standing stand.  If you can’t, then sit.” we were encouraged.


     A tireless supporter, youth for a cause, a great leader!

“What ever you do, we won’t give up on immigration reform!”  the crowd broke out into a roar of chants!and cheers.  There was no reason to fear abandonment of of this grand cause.  As the heat beat down on us, as the beads of sweat fell from our heads, as some of us became dizzy and our feet throbbed, we all that much stronger.  Each round of speakers brought ever longer periods of demonstrating and chanting in support of reform that is long past due.


Then came Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader from Nevada.  The remarks below are from his prepared speech found on his web page.  Since I did not take notes it was a great memory refresher as to what he said:


“Immigration reform, like health reform, is about doing what is right, even if it is hard.”  The senator, who is in for a difficult re-election campaign, told us.  “It is about jobs.  It is about getting people back to work, getting our economy back on track and helping it grow.”


The Senator said they had just finished attacking another difficult issue, health care reform.  Sadly, the vote on health care for millions of people who are precluded from access to medical treatment came down along party lines.  The Dems were for it, the Republicans leading colorado chant against.  Senator Reid indicated immigration reform needed to be bi-partisan legislation put forth by both sides of the aisle.


 Leading the chant, Colorado Speaks out!

“We’re going to make sure the 12 million undocumented immigrants in America get right with the law and pay their fair share of taxes.  When they do, dishonest employers will no longer be able to exploit them or use them to undercut the wages and working conditions of those who follow the law.” 


We broke out in a new round of chants and shouts for justice in America.


“Obama, Eschucha,

Estamos en la lucha”

Translated, it means “President Obama, Please listen, we are in the fight (for immigration rights).”


Senator Reid continued:


“(Immigration Reform) is about standing up for human rights, even if some try to stand in the way!”


The crowd went nuts!  Isn’t this what immigration reform is all about?  The strongest nation in the world needs to be the strongest leader when it comes to treating those under her banner fairly!


Reid indicated he supports securing our borders, getting tough on employers who break the law and take advantage of undocumented workers, keeping families together and providing a path to legalization for those who work hard, pay taxes, pass background checks and learn English, expand legal channels of immigration to relieve the pressure that leads people to come here illegally and insure the next generation has access to basic education through the Dream Act. 


uncle tim “We can make the American Dream a reality this year.  But only if we start today!”  Senator Reid indicated.  He said the next three weeks are critical weeks, and we must all work to contact our senators and congressmen to encourage them to support introduction of bi-partisan legislation. 



     Uncle Tim

One thing the Colorado contingent wants to know is where is  Senator Mark Udall in this process.  Senator Udall can take an active role in immigration reform and set Colorado as a leader in border protection and fair treatment for all who live under her skies.  Instead of serving as a national leader he has chosen to remain silent on the issue, leaving his constituents wondering where he stands.  You can voice your opinion Senator Udall at 877-768-3255.  If you don’t get the good senator in person please leave a message.  His office is counting calls and every single call bears weight!


When the Rally ended spirits were high.  I felt an odd sense of peace.  With this kind of participation, the question isn’t whether immigration reform will pass, but when.  The senator or congressman whose constituency is made up of a large percentage of immigrants and who does not support immigration reform and the Rifa Movement will likely be looking for new work after the next election.  This is a movement of peace, of using the democratic system to pass desperately needed reforms and using these methods it is a movement that will not be denied!

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