Wow, what a week for immigration reform!
Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer chaired a Judiciary subcommittee hearing on immigration reform, "Can We Do It and How?" And his answer was 'Yes we can.' He knows it'll be hard work but he and the witnesses - including our own executive VP Eliseo Medina - agreed that there is great reason for hope. President Obama wants to get this job done, and even the freshman, newly-appointed senator from my home state of Colorado, Michael Bennet, has been traveling around our state talking about the need for comprehensive immigration reform now.
This Friday, May 1st, I joined SEIU Local 32BJ, SEIU members and thousands of immigration advocates from around the country to march from Malcolm X Park to the White House.
What a crowd! The immigration reform rallies I have been to in the past have usually been 'family' events marked by enthusiasm and passion--and this one was no different. What I saw was a group of workers standing up and standing together for better treatment. People who know that the labor they provide carries more value than they are receiving for it, and are raising their voices to call for real reforms now.
Why we as citizens don't do this more often, I don't know. I do know that putting a floor under the most vulnerable workers in this country will help maintain a standard of living for all of us. And this year's May Day theme emphasizing America's immigrant history - immigrant roots, immigrant rights -- couldn't have been more on target.
After getting fired up with a big crowd like the one in DC on Friday, I feel ready for the work it'll take to get this job done and finally pass smart, pragmatic immigration reform that supports all workers. !Si se puede!
* Read more about last week's Senate hearing on immigration reform.