Last night was huge. Across the country, activists, families, friends, and neighborsgathered for a nationwide telephonic town hall event. We demonstrated true momentum for comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together and provides a pathway to citizenship for the 12 million undocumented people currently living in the United States.
There were 1,009 house parties in 45 states and Puerto Rico that gathered to join the town hall with Representative Luis Gutierrez. More than 60,000 people called in, joined house parties or listened to live radio broadcasts.
This number stands in stark contrast to the weak showing from anti-immigrant “tea party” activists last weekend, who produced a meager 50 events in only 26 states that did “not draw huge crowds.” Meanwhile, 400 activists showed up to a single pro-reform house party in Silver Spring, Maryland!
The town hall event, featuring Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Congressman Raul Grijalva and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez comes just days after White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano indicated the White House is ready to push for comprehensive immigration reform in 2010.
Last night, in schools, churches, and community centers all over the country Americans organized to push Congress to solve this problem once and for all.
During the call, Congressman Gutierrez outlined a progressive vision for immigration reform and told participants to continue organizing to hold their elected leaders accountable.
“We need everyone on this call to take action with your churches, your families and your organizations so that we can deliver a strong message to President Obama and Congress that, hey, it has been a year…We want you to keep your promise to our families. We’ll be watching on the State of the Union to make sure you keep your promise.”
And Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez reaffirmed that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is committed to finally making immigration reform a reality.
“We have a President who, I think, understands that. We have Democratic majorities in the Congress, and we have a few Republicans who want to work with us to get this done,” said Velazquez
Rep. Gutierrez, who lead last night’s call, is a tireless champion for the needs and rights of American workers. Right now, he understands that past attempts to reform our immigration laws have failed because they did not provide a way for migrants to come here legally in times of economic growth or satisfy the long-term needs of our aging workforce. This time around, he and others support the idea of a standing commission to study and regulate the worker visa system to ensure that there is a close match between the number and types of visas that are available and the needs of our economy. An unbiased commission is the solution that can safeguard the real needs of the U.S. workforce and the U.S. economy, and so sound policies will not be swayed by partisan politics.
Our approach has been perfected, the political landscape has improved, we have the grassroots power and we have countless allies working alongside of us to make this legislation a reality.
As Congressman Grijalva noted last night:
“In 2006 we marched, in 2008 we voted, and in 2009 and 2010 we’re getting organized.”
We are getting organized and last night’s incredible turnout and demonstration of true grassroots support proves that. Now, lets keep up the momentum and the pressure on Congress to get this done, once and for all.