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Reasons to rally: immigration reform taking a long time to come

Last weekend in Minneapolis, nearly 2,000 people gathered to rally for immigration reform.

The rally included a march from the Basilica of St. Mary to the Hennepin County Government Center. The distance between those two points is not far, but the length of the journey toward possible federal immigration reform is proving to be a lengthy one.

After all, Congress and the president have tried this before. During George W. Bush’s administration, there were efforts to pass an immigration reform law. But efforts to pass such a law eventually broke down. Nothing was done to fix the system.

Meanwhile, immigration officials relied on heavy-handed raids on employers, seeking to deport unauthorized immigrant workers. One of the most notorious of these raids was in Minnesota’s neighboring state of Iowa, in the little town of Postville.

Of course, the Obama administration has hardly ushered in a nirvana for undocumented people either. To be sure, the administration moved to put in place the Deferred Action program last year. That program allows certain young immigrants to avoid deportation while working or going to school in the U.S.

Avoiding deportation, however, is far from becoming a citizen. And although the Obama administration has not set in motion the high-profile raids that its predecessor did, there have been plenty of “silent raids,” as we discussed in a two-part post on September 13 and September 20.

In short, the status quo is increasingly unacceptable – not only to immigrants themselves, but to a remarkable collation of groups that favor it. These include business and labor groups, as well as the faith community and social justice advocates.

It is scarcely surprising then that a diverse collection of about 2,000 people turned out to rally in Minneapolis for immigration reform.

Source: Star Tribune, “Diverse crowd, 2,000 strong, seeks immigration reform,” Joy Powell, October 5, 2013

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