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Letter No. 47: Immigration reform now!

Felicia Persaud | 10/3/2013, 1:38 p.m.
Dear Mr. President, I feel more exhausted writing these 47 letters than Ted Cruz, even after his marathon 21-hour speech. ...
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

I feel more exhausted writing these 47 letters than Ted Cruz, even after his marathon 21-hour speech. And while I’m no Cruz fan, I simply wish there was one lawmaker on the left who had the cojones to stand up for immigration reform with a 22-hour speech that tops Cruz’s performance.

That’s exactly what is missing from this debate—real fire and passion and the urgency to tell Americans all over this nation why exactly immigration reform is needed, especially after the Kenya mall attack and only months after the Boston bombing.

Mr. President, will you or a lawmaker colleague on the left stand up and say loudly that we need immigration reform? Because we desperately know who the 11-plus million people are in this country now!

Not sure where we lost it, but I remember the day when, like the tea party, immigrants and advocates were not afraid to take to the streets in the tens of thousands all across the country to urge for reform. Now it seems everyone is dragging around tired and worn—except, of course, for those noisy tea party folks, including the ones like Cruz, who have forgotten their immigrant roots.

It’s hard to believe, isn’t it, that Cruz’s father was actually born in Matanzas, Cuba, fought for Fidel Castro in the Cuban Revolution and later fled Cuba for the U.S. as a refugee, knowing no English and with only $100 sewn into his underwear. The elder Cruz, who worked his way through college as a dishwasher, making 50 cents an hour, only became a U.S. citizen in 2005. Cruz’s mother is of Irish and Italian descent and was the first person in her family to attend college.

Yet Cruz, the only Hispanic senator in the U.S. Senate, voted against comprehensive immigration reform legislation passed and supported by both sides and is one of its biggest critics. Cruz wants the border secured before providing undocumented immigrants with a path to achieving a legal status and has basically said he would never endorse citizenship for anyone in the country without authorization.

But the real story is, where are the lawmakers on the left and why aren’t they hogging time and making a ruckus for immigration reform? With the exception of Rep. Luis Guiterrez, there are none. The truth is that Democrats are lousy at telling their story and making noise around issues they support. Not Republicans though, and immigrants are paying the price for this. Where are the lawmakers on the left consistently selling immigration reform?

Mr. President, there are less than 30 legislative days left before the end of the year. It’s time to urge both sides to bring those smaller bills to the floor for a vote in the House. Let’s get this train back on the track and rolling before the end of 2013. The safety of our country depends on it in this era when Americans are being recruited as terrorists. How can we continue to live in a country where millions remain unknown to us and while we spy on other nations but ignore the bigger issue right under our noses?

Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud