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Letter No. 40: Immigration reform now!

Felicia Persaud | 8/15/2013, 10:25 a.m. | Updated on 8/15/2013, 10:25 a.m.
Dear Mr. President, This August must be the summer of discontent over the failure by Republican House leaders to pass ...
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

This August must be the summer of discontent over the failure by Republican House leaders to pass the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill. With Facebook CEO’s Mark Zuckerberg’s six-figure ad buy via the group FWD.us now running on local stations in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico, Texas and Washington, D.C., and church leaders, including evangelicals, threatening to denounce those who block immigration reform, the time is now for you to keep the pressure on conservatives blocking this measure.

As a former activist in Chicago, you know the power of activism on all sides, and the time has come to urge all to push back against the Republicans holding this bill hostage, including the 1.11 billion people using Zuckerberg’s Facebook each month.

Now that you will no longer meet with Russian President Putin, perhaps a G8-style beer summit of immigrants, immigration advocates and supporters of immigration reform on all sides of the aisle at the White House should be planned to send a clear message that you, like most Americans, want immigration reform. This would also serve to shut up those who are against the measure, much like they were and still are against the Civil Rights Act.

It is imperative to not let this summer recess pass without a push back against those tea partyites who will undoubtedly use it for endless chatter on fear, “amnesty” and “illegal aliens.”

Now that folks like Zuckerberg, top church leaders, Karl Rove, and Republican Reps. Daniel Webster of Florida, Aaron Schock of Illinois and Kevin McCarthy of California have announced support for a legal status for the undocumented, it’s time to do a town hall rally from the White House to send a clear message—that reform is needed now, not later!

It is these high-profile Republicans, donors, business leaders, farmers and those in the Bible Belt of America who can squelch the 2013 bigots who no longer hide behind hoods and white sheets. Especially since data shows how 15,723 computer and mathematical labor certifications for permanent residency were approved in fiscal year 2013, along with 13,046 in the professional, scientific and technical services field. These are the high-skilled immigrants who are making a difference in the U.S. while people like Alejandro Morales—the undocumented immigrant featured in the FWD.us ad who came to the United States from Mexico when he was 7 months old, attended the Marine Math and Science Academy in Chicago and joined the junior ROTC but is barred from serving—are being held back.

And while you’re at it, maybe it’s time to use some of that executive power to end one of the most draconian parts of our immigration system: the federal government’s practice of putting immigrants in long-term detention without the basic due process of a bond hearing. Mr. President, we have come way too far to stop now.

Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud.

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