Viewpoint

Dear Mr. President,

Now that the “Gang of 18” in the United States Senate’s Judiciary Committee has run out of amendments and actually pushed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act on to the floor for a full-vote soon, the real tango begins.

It’s especially so since U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte knocked heads together and announced on May 23 that while “the House remains committed to fixing our broken immigration system…we will not simply take up and accept the bill that is emerging in the Senate if it passes.”

As the Senate prepares to vote on comprehensive immigration reform, it's important to remember that workers and immigrants have never made significant progress in gaining civil and human rights in the United States without a fight. The same is true today.

No political party or Gang of Eight can bestow upon undocumented immigrants rights that can only be won through an organized social movement. President Barack Obama would not have issued an executive order to defer the deportations of undocumented students had not these courageous youths fought those deportations, staged protests, and proposed their own immigration reform - the Dream Act.

copIt was one word that struck me. More than any other word spoken over the past 10 weeks of court testimony in Floyd v. City of New York, the civil trial questioning the New York Police Department’s policy of “Stop, Question and Frisk."

“No.” 

In over 8,000 pages of official court transcripts from the trial that ended on Monday, it is spoken time and time again by sergeants, precinct commanders and current and former high ranking officers within the police department. The question being replied to was a variation on this: “Does it bother you that in the vast majority, nine out of 10 stops, no enforcement action was taken? No summons, no arrest, no weapons found?”

congressIt’s important to celebrate whenever social barriers are knocked down — including the one that fell today when Mignon Clyburn became the acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Never before has a president appointed a woman to chair the commission — not even on an interim basis. It’s not the first time Clyburn has made history. She’s also the first African-American woman to serve as an FCC commissioner. But there are still many barriers that need to be knocked down. For one, we need to remove the “acting” title for the next woman to chair the FCC.

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