Olga Miranda, secretary treasurer of the San Francisco Labor Council and president of SEIU Local 87, did not mince words when sharing her initial reaction to the proposed federal immigration reform bill, which was unveiled April 16 by a bipartisan group of senators.
“If it was myself and our members at the bargaining table, we would walk away,” Miranda said. “This proposal is nothing more than an offense to the community.”Read more »
Last December, when the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act came up five votes short in the Senate, advocates began to worry that this seemingly modest piece of immigration reform, which offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth who do well in college and/or serve in the military would not be able to get the necessary votes, even with Barack Obama as President. Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama’s Chief of Staff up until last October, was reportedly criticized by some for allegedly not doing enough to support immigration reform. And frustration was high, as the community was forced to petition U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) each and every time they heard that a well-performing student, with no criminal record, like Steve Li or Mandeep was about to be sent to a country that they barely knew--taking their education and knowledge of the United States with them.
But six months later, the DREAMers (undocumented students who want to serve their adopted country) are refusing to take “no” for an answer. (In December, Steve Li won a reprieve, and last week ICE decided not to deport Mandeep, who was voted in high school as "most likely to save the world." ) And now Emanuel, who was sworn in as Chicago’s mayor in May, is raising his voice in support of the DREAM Act, which Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who has been fighting for immigration reform for more than a decade, is sponsoring. And they are hoping to turn the tide and get Republicans to vote for legislation they say will reduce the deficit, build up the military and perhaps, by not deporting young U.S. trained geniuses, even save the world. Read more »