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Letter No. 49: Immigration reform now!

Felicia Persaud | 10/24/2013, 11 a.m.
Congratulations on bringing immigration reform back front and center into the mix as the madness forced upon a nation by ...
Felicia Persaud

Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations on bringing immigration reform back front and center into the mix as the madness forced upon a nation by a mad Texan, hungry for fame, finally came to an end.

The mainstream media suddenly has refocused on the issue, back to hypothesizing about the “what ifs” and “whatnots” of this happening, just like the wild analysis of “what if the economy goes over the cliff” theories.

The fact is that if John Boehner let the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act that passed the Senate in July come to the floor of the House for a vote without the Hastert rule, it can pass! That’s the only “what if” in this equation.

If Boehner can be less selfish about holding on to a weak speakership in which his only legacy will be shutting down the government for no real reason, then he will go down with the tea party and the minority pack of conservative white, old men across the country. The real America has moved way beyond that, and so has the voting demographics on a national scale—fear it or not. But if he wants to show real leadership, he will let the bill come to the floor for a vote, just as he did with the Senate’s bill to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling.

If Boehner has any sense and really wants to let the GOP be a national—not just congressional—party then he will let immigration reform pass this year, not simply kick the can down the road again into oblivion while he holds on to being head cook of the mad hatters’ club. The public lobbying of Boehner has to be hastened, especially now that the GOP badly needs something to save face as they continue to slide in the polls. And Ted Cruz is not it, especially as Texas is expected to join New Mexico and California as a state where Latinos outnumber non-Hispanic whites. This shift could turn the state purple, leaving the GOP scrambling in election cycles to come and certainly making Cruz’s presidential ambitions flushable.

Business leaders who support the GOP and the Evangelical Church must also be pushed by you to urge Boehner to get this to the floor. It cannot appear that this is your agenda alone or it will never get done. Let those moderates and donors who support immigration reform become your lobbyists.

Millions need immigration reform, not simply the 11 million-plus undocumented; the families of those who have been destroyed by the pain of deportation need it too. There are many American-born children who are now orphaned, their parents torn from them simply because of their undocumented status.

Meanwhile, federal prisons are bursting at the seams as more than 60 percent of all federal criminal convictions are for nothing else than immigration. Not drugs or murder, but illegal entry into the United States. This is costing the government and taxpayers millions to house these nonviolent offenders. There are some spending cuts that can happen now while adding billions to the coffers in fines and adjustments of status fees. How about putting that on the table for some real budget negotiations and balancing the budget?

Respectfully,

Felicia Persaud

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.