January 29, 2007
Congressional Lobby Day Report
On Monday, January 29, a group of us, representatives
from San Francisco La Raza Legal Centro, National Organization of
Women, veterans and I met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi's staff on immigration
and present our open letter and exchanges ideas on the immigration
We met for one hour and had a frank and open discussion about the
immigration legislation issues. We have some agreements and difference
at our points of unity.
- While Rep. Pelosi supports the DREAM Acts and the immigrant labor
rights, we disagree on the guest workers program, she supports the
program and were against it. The staffer of the Pelosi office
told us were the ONLY(?) national organizations had lobby
her against the programwhile almost all other national organizations
had told Pelosi that theyll support the guest worker program.
- We disagrees on the border fence program, and the anti-immigrant
bill, they told me we cannot get the perfect pro-immigrant bill
to pass in the Congress, and we need to make compromise
on supporting certain enforcement part of the immigrant bill in
order we can pass something this year.
- They told us 2007 is the best possible year to push for comprehensive
immigration reform legislation, and we only have until August, 2007
to do this, if we missed this year (2007), well need
to wait 10, even 20 years before next chance to push for the comprehensive
immigration reform legislation at the Congress. They told
- Basically, they told us immigrant organizations from across the
country need to work together and compromise what kinds
of comprehensive immigration reform legislation they want to push,
they said we need collectively agrees on what to push and what to
give up (or put on hold) in order we can have realistic a chance
to pass this year.
- They suggest we need to focus on local level lobbying to gain
supports from Congressional members at the anti-immigrant district
for passing the comprehensive immigration reform legislation, because
they are the wild card on the vote on the Congress,
if anti-immigrant groups mobilize their base to demand their elected
officials to against the pro-immigrant bill, they will do so, however,
if we can mobilize their local communities and interfaith leaders
to talk with them, well have chance to gain their supports
to pass the bill.
In addition, we also raised our concern to them about the war in
Iraq, the war funding and the link with the immigrant rights movements.
In conclusion, we aggress to maintain our communication for the
coming future on drafting the comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
Reports from Other Congressional Visit and Across
In addition, thank you for everyone who had visited and call your
representatives at the Call-In day, at dozen states.
Herere some reports from the call with their representatives:
I visited the offices of 6 New York congresspeople [at the Washington
D.C.]: Charles Rangel, Nita Lowey, Jose Serrano, Jerrold Nalder,
Maurice Hinchey and Yvette Clarke to begin a dialogue on how to:
obtain progressive immigration legislation, defeat any reactionary
legislation that is proposed, and impose a moratorium on arrests
and deportations until congress passes good legislation. I selected
these representatives based on their voting records on past immigration
bills and their power ranking in Congress. I added Yvette Clarke
because politically she may be better than any other NY Democrat
in that she is not entrenched, she is new and progressive and may
actually want to do something, she is the daughter of immigrants
and she has a large Haitian/Jamaican immigrant constituency.
The questions and ideas I posed to the congressional staffers included:
-will it be more productive to push for progressive legislation
in the next 2 years, i.e. are there currently enough votes particularly
on the Republican side (because the Democrats will need Republican
votes) to produce and pass progressive legislation,
-or wait until after the 2008 elections when hopefully more Democrats
will be elected and concentrate on defeating or staving off any
unacceptable bills in the meantime.
-as it is unacceptable to make immigrants pay with imprisonment,
deportation, separation from their families, and destruction of
their lives for the inability of congress to pass comprehensive
legislation even though it has been on the table for 6-7 years,
a moratorium should be placed on arrests and deportations until
such time as congress passes an immigration bill. How do we make
a moratorium a reality. Who will take the leadership in congress.
Rangels Chief of Staff was the only one forthcoming with
an answer, the others needed time to talk to their reps. He said
-Its not the time to take up progressive immigration legislation
because Democrats want to win in 2008 elections (the thinking being
that Democrats supporting immigration will lose votes for Presidential
and other candidates running for election not sure if this
is true. See Rob Parals article on who voted for Sensenbrenner
Reps who voted for that bill are most likely to represent
districts with relatively few undocumented immigrants.)
-Rangel would probably support a bill calling for moratorium on
arrests/deportations but would not lead it because of his work on
Ways and Means Comm.
-leadership on immigration will probably come out of Black Caucus
John Conyers and Betty Thompson.
After taking this first step the dialogue needs to continue with
the staffers in the NY District offices. We need to find Democratic
leadership to introduce a bill to place a moratorium on arrests/deportation
and then to introduce progressive immigration bill that immigrants,
their families, friends and communities and progressive people can
by: Dr. Salvador Rivera, Ph.D
I called the offices of Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer.
I also rang the office of Congressman Michael McNulty.
Sen. Clinton's office had a machine on (as usual), so I left my
concerns on immigration on tape. The word in the Albany-Schenectady
area of New York is that she has not been helpful on this issue.
Sen Schumer's office indicated a stronger interest in my concerns
and made it clear they would convey message to Schumer.
Congressman McNulty's office showed an even higher interest and
much more willing to talk. I have met McNulty in person and he has
I also asked the offices of all three to; 1) lower the immigration
fees, and 2), demand that the federal government emphasize to the
states and municipalities that Washington D.C is responsible for
immigration matters. The states and cities are usurping power of
Feds. We must insist that Feds alone retain this right.
by: R. Evely Gildersleeve, Ph.D.
Representative Tom Latham, Iowa's 4th District - I called the DC
office and asked to speak to my congressman. The staffer told me
he was unavailable today but would I like to leave a message. I
did. I left the script provided by ISN.
Senator Chuck Grassley - The DC office told me that Senator Grassley
was in Iowa today. So, I tried the Des Moines office. The staffer's
first response was to tell me that the Senator was in DC today.
I informed her that I had just spoken with the DC office, and they
told me that the Senator was in Iowa today. She replied, "Well,
I don't have the Senator's schedule, sir." I asked to leave
the Senator a message. She asked for my address. I gave the script
provided by ISN, then gave my address.
Senator Tom Harkin - The DC office told me the Senator was traveling
today. I began to leave the script as my message, but then was put
on hold. The staffer returned and took my message. He never asked
for my name or address.
From: Michelle L'Allier
I called in to Jim Ramsted's office, District 3 of Minnesota, today
to register my desire as a voter in his district for his support
of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, using your script
points. I was respectfully received and heard--thank you for the
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