Immigration & culture beat: Immigration reform advocates press for system fix now

  • Article by: MARK BRUNSWICK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2014 - 7:46 PM

Rudy Lopez is a faster who wants things done quicker.

Lopez, a senior organizer for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, was in Minneapolis last week to push for stepped up pressure on Congress to pass immigration reform. He met with U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s office and spoke at a news conference with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, one of the signers of a recent letter from 15 big-city mayors urging Senate and House leaders to complete work on what the letter called “broad and meaningful” immigration reform.

Lopez recently participated in a 22-day fast that began in a tent on the National Mall in Washington in November. During the fast, leaders and immigrants abstained from all food to bring attention to the country’s broken immigration system and its impact on families.

For Lopez, one of the priorities of reform should be a path to citizenship.

“It shouldn’t take 13 or, in some cases, 25 years to be able to adjust your status,” he said. “At the same time we need to be able to have a solution for future flow because we don’t want to be in the same situation five years from now.”

On Monday, two buses left Los Angeles for a 70-city tour. The tours are a way of advocating for stopping deportations. On March 14, the tour will come through Minnesota with a planned stop at the local office of U.S. Rep. John Kline. Organizers are urging supporters to fast for at least a portion of the day and to reach out to their congressional delegations to urge their support.

“We know that what’s preventing this from taking place in Washington is fear,” he said. “But we know that fear can be trumped by genuine love. Love for our neighbor brothers and sisters who are immigrants. But also love for our country, because doing this is good for America.”

Citing public polling that shows support for immigration reform from a broad range of constituencies, Lopez said: “The debate for this has long since been answered. The question is how do we get there together.”

 

Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434

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