If you’ve been following the news, you know it’s been another exciting few days for efforts to pass immigration reform legislation. This week, I’m glad that the excitement springs from a place we more often associate with extreme anti-immigration legislation: Arizona.
Activists and migrant families in Arizona recently concluded a four-day bus tour across the state to tell stories of broken families and drum up support for the passage of a humane immigration reform that affirms the sanctity of families. Their tour put a spotlight on the indignity and suffering that immigrant communities face as a result of current immigration policy.
The bus tour concluded with a rally in Phoenix where 1,000 immigrants and their supporters created a symbolic presence representing the 1,000 immigrants who are deported from the United States every day.
The event was organized by Promise Arizona and is part of a nationwide “Keeping Families Together Campaign” led by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. More than 500 migrant families are participating in the national bus tour that will include 19 states and 90 cities and more than 100 congressional districts.
Holding this and similar pro-immigrant events in Arizona will be critical to the successful passage of a fair immigration reform bill this year. Arizona is a border state that has been in the forefront of the national debate on immigration since the 2010 passage of SB 1070, a piece of extreme legislation, most of which has since been overturned by the Supreme Court. Arizona is also key because it is represented in the Senate by John McCain and Jeff Flake, members of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” who will lead the writing of the Senate immigration reform bill.
It is for these reasons that LIRS included Arizona in the list of four priority states where we plan to conduct vigorous and sustained grassroots organizing in support of a bill that is inline with our principles. The other three states are South Carolina, Texas, and North Carolina. We’ll win this campaign for the millions of undocumented immigrants in our midst yearning for a life of freedom and dignity. In the process, we’ll reaffirm a culture of welcome in our country and fulfill our mission to Stand for Welcome. I’m counting on you to join us in this historic effort. For more information and action opportunities around immigration reform, please visit http://lirs.org/cir/