Letter No. 39: Immigration reform now!

Felicia Persaud | 8/8/2013, 10:03 a.m. | Updated on 8/8/2013, 10:03 a.m.
Dear Mr. President, It’s sad to hear the White House has no backup plan if Republicans fail to push an ...
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

It’s sad to hear the White House has no backup plan if Republicans fail to push an immigration reform bill to a vote.

White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz made that clear in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Fox News Latino’s Juan Williams recently. And now, after listening to both Reps. Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan “poo hoo” on Sunday morning talk shows about not letting the Senate’s immigration bill see the light of day, one can’t help but feel despondent.

Despondent for the millions in need of relief from this measure who live in this country and pay taxes; despondent for those children who could see their parents deported and their lives ripped apart; and despondent for the fact that despite professing Christianity, most of the lawmakers and their tea party supporters blocking the measure have no real spirituality but are simply consumed by racism.

It is why Rep. Charlie Rangel’s comments to the Daily Beast recently are so profound. In case you missed it, Rangel said he “sees in some of the reluctance to move forward on immigration reform a fear—one that white people have of non-whites.”

To quote him directly from the Daily Beast: “Every white son of a gun from Europe has found a way to get here, and these barriers, I think, have a lot to do with color and the awkwardness or the uncomfortableness that a lot of whites feel about people of color.”

He is absolutely right, for there is no denying that if the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States were all Europeans, then there would be no dragging of the feet, no talk of border security first or of amnesty as if it were such an ugly word. No, there would be a haste to ensure we live out those American values that are quoted only for a segment of the population: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

So what can you do in the midst of all the other issues, including terror claims and a slow job report?

With 2014 around the corner, the time is now to push those Republican supporters of immigration reform and big business leaders to rally their House lawmakers to pass this measure. Getting Karl Rove; former Vice President Dan Quayle; Tom Stemberg, a founder of Staples; Frank VanderSloot, the founder of Melaleuca Inc.; and former Cabinet member Carlos Guiterrez showing support for this is a big step, but Silicon Valley, corporate America and farmers who desperately need immigrant laborers must also be harnessed in this rally.

It cannot be a left versus right rally, but a push that is business- and economy- driven. One hundred Republican donors have already written a letter urging Congress “to take action to fix our broken immigration system.”

Now it’s time for you to show Republicans who is boss. Tell them to deliver a solution to the problem; either they deport 11 million people, or they deliver temporary residency with a pathway to citizenship. It’s the only way!


Felicia Persaud

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat