Audacity and Courage to Change

Los Angeles, CA – Almost one year ago to date, the nation elected its first

African American president and immigrant communities everywhere exercised their

political muscle making the difference between one candidate over another,

especially in tight races.  One year ago, the nation’s immigrant

communities heard loud and clear that change was on the way.  The

following are comments by Angelica Salas, Executive Director for the Coalition

for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a regional immigrant

rights organization based in Los

Angeles.

“If there was any doubt on November

4, 2008 that change had arrived, news of a victory by then-Senator Obama

combined with record number of immigrant voters at the ballot box, it must have

dissipated quickly.  President Obama’s election was proof that grassroots

organizing and a shared vision for a society that honors its deep roots and

strong values can be achieved.  

The change that was promised to us

in the form of a comprehensive immigration reform bill, however, has yet to

materialize.  All the while, tens of thousands of families have been

separated and many more have lost their jobs, homes, and businesses. 

Hundreds have lost their lives attempting to cross the border.  Change is

inevitable, but how long must we wait?

One year after that historic

election, many more immigrants have become naturalized citizens and will vote

for the first time on November 3.  As we did in 2008 we will cast our

ballot knowing that by doing so we are representing and speaking for those who

cannot due to living deep in the shadows because they are undocumented

workers.  We vote to remind our elected officials that our concerns are

also America’s

concerns.

When millions of immigrants answered

the call in 2008, we voted so that our communities, our families, and our sons

and daughters would know that beyond hope, it takes real courage to make change

happen.  In the eve of another election, we expect no less of President

Obama and the 111th Congress of the United States of America.  A

comprehensive immigration reform bill must be approved now.”

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