Empathy. Compassion. Economic realism. Congressmen Mike Thompson and Luis Gutierrez spoke about it while emphasizing the importance of immigration reform becoming real in Congress this summer, to a group of about 120 people during “Connecting Latino Voices,” a community gathering on May 3rd, at the beautiful Chateau St. Jean vineyard in Kenwood, Sonoma County.
“It is the right thing to do, and it also is sound economic benefit for our country,” Thompson said. The congressman referred to what economists and pro-immigration activists have explained it again and again, that legalizing the millions of undocumented workers in the United States will contribute to the US economy, as simple as that.
“The details are in the provisions,” Congressman Gutierrez said, conveying that as important as it is establishing a permanent legal status that will let the brightest and highly educated professionals from other countries stay and bring their families to the United States, so it is having paths for citizenship for other important workforces, so called less educated. “We want immigration reform that provides the same opportunities to all new comers.”
“They [undocumented immigrants] may not have the education, but they work with a lot of determination and a lot of will,” Gutierrez said. “Somebody has to do the work that does not require a college degree and do you want to know something? We’ve got to be as respectful of them as we are of everyone else.”
Both congressmen, Thompson and Gutierrez said that family reunification is a priority and that once and for all, comprehensive immigration reform needs to be in place.
It was a spirited event, although this writer would have liked to have a bigger presence of Latino leaders and families from Sonoma County and the North Bay, but it was relevant. People left feeling moved to do something, to contribute, to push for immigration reform. “We are getting closer and closer to immigration reform,” Congressman Mike Thompson said.
“What gets the President and the Congress moving – El Presidente y el Congreso, is,” said Congressman Luis Gutierrez to this writer, “how strong the pressure and the push for immigration reform is. How many more marches do we need to go to? As many as we need!”
“Es cuestión de ver la humanidad. It is matter of seeing the human being in each undocumented immigrant,” Gutierrez said.
Congressman Mike Thompson and Congressman Luis Gutierrez are running for reelection. They both are Democrats. Two media outlets covered the event, The Press Democrat, an English-language newspaper in Northern California and online, and “Hecho en California,” a Spanish/bilingual radio show at KIQI-1010 am everyday at 9am.
Text by Lupita Peimbert; Photos by John Johnson
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