Photo by: DCTWINKIE5500
On the same day the House passed the landmark health care bill—extending health care coverage to more than 30 million Americans—tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied on the National Mall Sunday to re-energize Congress to take up the next volatile issue on the President’s agenda—immigration reform.
President Barack Obama, who promised to make overhauling the immigration system a top priority in his first year, sought to reassure those at the rally with a video message promising to fix a “broken immigration system.” Even though the President couldn’t actually change the provisions of the health insurance reform bill that preclude undocumented immigrants from participating and require a waiting period for legal immigrants, it was enough to convince Representative Luis Gutierrez, the Chicago Democrat outspoken in favor of immigration reform, to vote in favor of health care legislation on March 21st after he had pledged to oppose it because of its immigration language.
Is the President’s pledge to move on immigration reform enough to move Congress to act? Will Gutierrez’s hopes—and those of the demonstrators at the rallies—be fulfilled or dashed in this, the second year of the Obama Administration? Every nonprofit has a stake in how our nation deals with immigrants. We at Nonprofit Quarterly dedicated our Summer 2009 issue to immigration—including articles that take apart and re-stitch the picture of nonprofits and their service, program, and advocacy relationships with immigrant populations. We hope you’ll take a look as you keep an eye on the coming national conversation.