Hand in hand, leaders and activists from the Latino,
African-American, Asian-American, Jewish, and Muslim communities
prayed for immediate and just changes in immigration laws, and
for the victims of Haiti’s earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010.
On Jan. 16, more than1,600 people marched for reform in front of
Hartwell Country Club in Cincinnati. In cities across the
United States, Reform Immigration for America has
mobilized similar rallies to remind the Barack Obama
administration to fulfill its campaign promise, and make
immigration a priority this year.
“If we don’t get something by May we’ll be losing a lot of
people,” Veronica Isabel Dahlberg, director of Hispanic
Organizations of Lake and Ashtabula (HOLA) and stressed the
window for change is brief this election year. She said raids
and traffic stops and increased deportations have spread fear
throughout the communities.
Rev. Stanley Miller,
director of Cleveland NAACP, said increase in racial profiling
is eerily reminiscent of slave catchers for the 1860s, “This is
an issue whose time has come and it has to be addressed right
The law needs to be updated to reflect current economic needs
and U.S. democracy, said attorney David Leopold,
president of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA).
“If someone comes at you and says ‘they broke the law’ – well,
it’s a bad law,” he said, and evoked memories of Martin Luther
King Jr. and Rosa Parks, “…they broke the law.”
He said lack of visas for high skilled laborers like registered
nurses has an immediate impact on the health of U.S. citizens,
“operations are being canceled because there aren’t enough
The debate rarely includes job-creating immigrants, said
Richard Herman, co-author of Immigrant Inc., Why
immigrants are driving the U.S. Economy. He said
corporations—like Pfizer, U.S. Steel—were founded by immigrants.