Open Letter #67 To President Obama – Immigration Reform Now!

immigration reform
Immigration reform now!

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 28, 2014: Dear Mr. President,

The Book of Deuteronomy’s passage: “Cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans or widows,” jumped out at me this week as I like thousands of advocates, church leaders and immigrants looked for hope in the midst of what has been a disappointing last couple of weeks.

What’s the next move?, is the question many groups are now grappling with in the face of John Boehner insisting that immigration reform will not happen again this year. Will or can the discharge petition floated by Senator Chuck Schumer work?

From my vantage point it seems like the only real option to making immigration reform a reality. But there has to be a targeted approach. I suggest, Mr. President the Biblical approach – with an election year strategy of course.

The target for the ‘curse?’ – the 40 of the 232 Republican House lawmakers who come from districts that are more than 20 percent Hispanic. Once you can keep your 200 Democrats in line to vote on a bill using the discharge petition strategy, then all that is needed are 17 Republican members willing to say yes to immigration reform, break party line for the sake of their seat and circumvent the Republican majority in the House, bypass the regular committee process and help bring the measure directly to the House floor while also bypassing the regular committee process.

Those most vulnerable Republican lawmakers with a huge Hispanic voting population in their district must be targeted now, ahead of the mid-term elections, especially in the states of California, Florida and Texas.

They are:

  1. Cuban-born Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida’s 27th congressional district which has a whopping 73 percent Hispanic population
  2. Congressman David G. Valadao of California’s 21st congressional District, home to 72 percent Hispanics
  3. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida’s 25th congressional district, with 70 percent Hispanics constituents.
  4. Congressman Steve Pearce, representing the second district of New Mexico, which is home to 52 percent Hispanics.
  5. Congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas’ congressional District 27th, home to 51 percent Hispanics.
  6. Congressman Gary Miller of California’s 31st Congressional District, which has a 49 percent Hispanic population.
  7. Congressman Devin Nunes of California’s 22nd District, home to 46 percent Hispanics.
  8. Congressman Jeff Dunham of California’s 10th District, with a 40 percent Hispanic population.
  9. Congressman Howard McKeon of California’s 25th District, home to 38 percent Hispanics.
  10. Congressman Doc Hastings of Washington’s 4th Congressional District, home to 37 percent Hispanics.
  11. Congressman Paul Cook of California’s 8th Congressional District, with a 36 percent Hispanic population.
  12. Congressman Kevin McCarthy of California’s 23rd Congressional District, which has a 35 percent Hispanic population.
  13. Congressman Randy Neugebauer of Texas’ 19th Congressional District, where 35 percent of all constituents are Hispanics.
  14. Congressman Edward Royce, California’s 39th congressional district, home to 35 percent Hispanics.
  15. Congressman Michael Conaway of Texas’ 11th District, where 34 percent of all constituents are Hispanic.
  16. Congressman Ken Calvert of California’s 42nd District, with a 33 percent Hispanic population.
  17. Congressman John Culberson of Texas’ 7th District, where 31 percent of the constituents are Hispanics.
  18. Congressman Duncan Hunter, the representative of California’s 50th District, where 30 percent of all those who live there are Hispanics.
  19. Congressman Ted Poe of Texas’ 2nd district, home to 30 percent Hispanics as well.

The time to ramp up the lobbying of these Congressional representatives is now, ahead of the mid-terms. Advocates too must get out the message for Hispanic voters and all immigrant voters to use their vote to send a clear message to the GOP, which is paralyzed by a small fringe group led by a Canadian-born man who I’m ashamed to know, has immigrant roots in Cuba.

But Rep. Valadao (R-Calif.); Reps. Denham (R-Calif.) and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), get it. It is why they support HR 15 along with the 190 co-sponsors. We now need to add the other 28 needed to get to 218 and a majority in the House.

Time to round up the Democrats and use that phone, Mr. President!


Felicia Persaud.

The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.