August was a month of action for immigration reform. With Congress in recess and with most members in their home districts, the immigration reform movement took that time to rally at their local representatives’ offices and at town hall meetings across the country to show their support.
Here on Long Island, we joined together with the national movement and our allies and held several events and rallies.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone came out to Brentwood to help unveil a new ad campaign by 32BJ calling for support for immigration reform. It’s a very welcome change to have County Executive Bellone on our side and on the side of immigration reform, especially considering the anti-immigrant rhetoric spewed by the previous administration.
Long Island Wins along with the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform, the American Jewish Committee and 32BJ conducted a joint event bringing together faith, labor and business leaders for a shared mission of passing comprehensive immigration reform.
Leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities came together to explain their interlocking commitment to passing immigration reform this year. They were joined by business and labor leaders, who talked about how their interests dovetailed on the issue of immigration reform – creating a healthy, vibrant economy that provides good jobs and protections for native-born and immigrant workers alike.
All the while, our allies at the Long Island Civic Engagement Table and Make the Road New York continued generating calls to Rep. Peter King’s office to express support for immigration reform. While King has already publicly expressed his support for reform with a path to citizenship, it’s important for us to thank him for his support and to continue urging him to be a voice of reason on this issue in the House.
These actions along with those of our allies across the country are a testament to the widespread support that immigration reform has, here on Long Island and nationwide. The polls have shown time and time again that Americans support comprehensive immigration reform, and these events affirm that.
Here are a few of the photos from the August month of action.
Rally in Massapequa Park outside Peter King’s office.
Here’s a summary of what happened around the country in August, courtesy of the Alliance for Citizenship.
Number of Republicans who’ve come out for citizenship: 25
Number of events organized: 1,194 in 41 states
Number of town hall meetings attended by reform supporters:132 in 29 states targeting 62 members of Congress
Number of Congressional visits: more than 350
Number of petitions gathered in support of citizenship: more than 600,000
Number of contacts to Congress through email, fax, and phone:81,466
Number of state-level press hits generated: 588 in 38 states
Those who oppose immigration reform had planned on making their voices heard during the Congressional recess, but were substantially overshadowed by the pro-immigration reform advocates.
In early August, Tea Party Patriots and NumbersUSA, two groups opposed to immigration reform, heavily publicized a rally in Richmond, Virginia, featuring Steve King as a speaker. But only a few people showed up—far short of the hundreds organizers had planned for.
Over the past month, it was the pro-immigration reform side that made their voices heard loud and clear. All around the country, from Bakersfield, Calif. to right here on Long Island, hundreds showed up at the offices of their local representatives in support of commonsense immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
Comparison of a pro-immigration rally and Steve King’s anti-immigration rally.
In contrast, anti-immigration reform rallies were sparsely attended, and many even had to be cancelled.
According to The Atlantic:
Anti-reform groups appear to be canceling events for lack of participation. The Tea Party Patriots once boasted of summer rallies in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Dallas; and South Carolina, but they’ve disappeared from the calendar on the group’s website. Another anti-immigration-reform group, the Black American Leadership Alliance, had planned a nine-city “We Are America Tour,” but had to drop half the stops. “Dear friends, it is with deep regret that I must inform you all that we had to drop several rallies,” an organizer wrote on Facebook, in a post that has since been removed but was spotted and preserved by the pro-reform group America’s Voice. “We were unable to get organizers for the following: Miami, FL., Chicago, IL., Roanoke, VA., and Wisconsin.
When all was said and done, 25 Republican House members publicly announced their support for comprehensive immigration reform by the end of the month. Many believe that there are a lot more GOP House members that support reform but just haven’t announced it publicly.
We can’t let up on the pressure as Congress returns from recess. Now is the time for us to keep up the push for immigration reform and to keep letting our elected officials know that this is what the people want. There will continue to be rallies and events scheduled in the coming weeks, make sure to keep showing your support.