The New York Times reports that immigration advocates see Congress’s 5-week summer recess as a crucial window to lobby the House to hold a vote for the comprehensive immigration bill that is currently tabled there. Should the House pursue its piecemeal approach to immigration reform, advocates fear issues like increasing border security will take precedence and leave the issue of a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. unresolved for a much longer time or leave the issue completely unresolved. This is unacceptable as deportations are increasing at a record pace every day.
Since a path to citizenship is included in the Senate’s comprehensive bill, immigration reform advocates are moving forward to launch several campaigns to get the House to vote on the Senate’s bill. One campaign that was both poignant and topical involved sending cantaloupes to more than 200 House members, with a note that said “This cantaloupe was picked by immigrants in California. You gave Steve King a vote. Give us a vote for citizenship.” In a speech last week, Steve King (R-IA), stereotyped immigrants as drug runners who taped marijuana to their calves making them the “size of cantaloupes.” This is not the first time that he made bigoted remarks.
Advocates also mentioned that if the Senate’s comprehensive bill were to be voted on in the House today, there would be enough bipartisan support to pass the bill. Therefore, advocates believe efforts to rally enough outcry from key constituent groups and the accompanying media coverage over the next 5 weeks can help pressure House GOP members and its leadership to act on this bill.
I want to encourage everyone to contact their Congress members in the month of August to support immigration reform, whether by calling their Washington D.C. office, local offices, writing letters or visiting with them if possible. Please do this as we need a final push to get the immigration reform bill passed!