Advocates warned House Republicans on Tuesday that they have until June 28 to take legislative action on immigration reform or face the consequences in the midterm elections.
They also called on President Barack Obama to act immediate to stop deportations. The demands came from members of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the nation’s largest coalition of grassroots organizations, as they kicked off a new campaign dubbed “Stop Separating Families.”
“We are issuing a deadline, and the clock is ticking,” Petra Falcon, director of Promise Arizona, said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “House Republicans will have until June 28 to pass meaningful comprehensive immigration reform that provides a real end to the family-separation crisis.”
“To President Obama, we say this: ‘Time is up,’” Falcon continued. “‘It is your policies that are separating our families at record numbers. The needless deportations must stop.”
As part of the “Stop Separating Families” campaign, advocates with FIRM are also planning to hold a “bold” civil disobedience action in Washington, D.C., in the next few weeks. They said it’s intended to show the frustration that immigrant families feel because of the lack of action on immigration reform.
More actions will be held across the country over the next few weeks. Some of the actions will focus on civic engagement and registering Latinos to vote. On May 1, advocates with FIRM will join labor organizations to hold events throughout the country to push for immigration reform and workers rights.
Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigrant Coalition, said the “Stop Separating Families” campaign will culminate on June 28 with advocates holding a series of additional actions across the country and rolling out a scorecard to show “who’s on our side and who’s not” on immigration reform.
He added that if members of Congress haven’t taken any legislative action on immigration reform by June 28, advocates will move to a new phase of the campaign. That phase will consist of mobilizing voters to turn out to vote in the midterm elections for members of Congress who pushed for immigration reform.
“We will move forward to electoral organizing … and we’ll be turning out thousands and thousands of votes,” Choi said.
The “Stop Separating Families” campaign comes as efforts to pass immigration reform legislation in the GOP-controlled House are at a standstill. Republicans have taken most of the blame for Congress’ failure to pass immigration reform legislation.
House Democrats have tried to pressure Republicans to move on the issue by filing a discharge petition that would force a vote on an immigration reform bill. But they haven’t been able to come up with the 218 signatures needed to force the vote.
Meanwhile, some predict that Obama could take executive action this summer to suspend the deportations of some undocumented immigrants, including those with minor offenses. The president took a step in that direction last month when he directed Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johsnon to review the current deportation policies in order to find “more humanely” ways to carry out immigration enforcement efforts.