Last Tuesday (10/20/15) I watched a fascinating documentary about the attempt to develop a legislative strategy in the U.S. Congress. Summary: "More than 2 million undocumented immigrants have been deported since President Barack Obama took office, a number that lawmakers on both side of the aisle agree points to a broken immigration system. A wide range of solutions has been proposed, everything from increasing deportations and strengthening the border, to expanding protections for millions in the country illegally. For now, the push for comprehensive reform is stalled in Congress. But when the debate resurfaces, here are several figures that could be key to the debate." ** Excerpt from Program Introduction.
The program is excruciating to watch - especially for those us working for immigration justice. Rep. Luis Gutierrez spent several years behind the scenes and then, more openly working with Republican counterparts to find a way to jointly introduce legislation to legalize people's status. Ironically, it was the defeat of a Republican Congressman in a special election due to "his stand on immigration reform" PLUS the increase in unaccompanied minors from Central America that caused the collapse of negotiations in June, 2014.
Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable - the art of the next best." Quote from Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck. This documentary is an excellent reminder of the importance of compromise. I think the challenge is to find some specific action that Democrats and Republicans can agree on and build the compromise from there. For example, former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley suggested in the first Democratic debate to provide health care to all undocumented children. Is that a starting place? California does provide health care to all children - we can learn from them.
What do you think? Where would you begin? It is young Dreamers who have pushed the issue with the President - another excellent documentary last night (10/25/15) on PBS - http://www.papersthemovie.com/about_papers/. Watch it - for Oregon viewers there is a young woman from Beaverton, Oregon who is featured plus Rabbi Isaak and Donna Maxey, a high school teacher. It is inspiring!