TX Reformers Clash with Anti-Immigration Protesters

Close to 50 immigration reform activists from TexasRITA, LULAC, Mi Familia Vota and other groups gathered this week at U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold's (R-TX) Corpus Christi office to deliver 10,000 petitions asking for the Congressman's support of immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship.

Farenthold is among the House Republicans who have expressed some openness to an immigration overhaul. He represents a district with a significant population of Hispanics - at 49.5% - but has been reluctant to support providing a path to full citizenship, the core piece of the Senate bill passed earlier this summer.

His voting base has said "no to the Senate bill and no amnesty," Farenthold stated in an earlier town meeting last month. But later added, "Where the lines of amnesty are have not been sorted out in the American psyche."

Farenthold went on the offensive this time, however, tweeting and asking his followers to show up at his office to stand with him against immigration reform.

The morning of the rally, immigration reform activists were met with an anti-immigration crowd that shouted and used intimidation tactics to dissuade the group, asking them if they were illegals.

Both sides met face to face in Corpus.

Miguel Porfirio, a DREAMer and DACA recipient, who led the petition delivery said,

Why is Congressman Farenthold afraid of our families, of our stories? Why did he feel like he had to turn out a group of his supporters to scare us? Why is he afraid of the 10,000 constituents who signed the petition? We came to deliver that petition and talk about immigration reform in a positive way. We expect the same respect and dialogue that the Congressman would offer to any of his other constituents.

These kinds of protests are being seen all throughout the country.

  • In Utah, an organization of leaders and local church officials took part in an immigration reform meeting on Tuesday to discuss a pathway to citizenship and urge U.S. Representatives Jim Matheson and Rob Bishop to act in favor of a humane immigration reform.
  • Five dozen immigration rights activists picketed outside Rep. Frank R. Wolf's Herndon office on Wednesday, demanding he vote for a bill that would include citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.
  • Cars were said to have slowed as people stared at a crowd of protesters clothed in white brandishing American flags and protest signs marching through the streets of Asheboro, North Carolina on Wednesday demanding that U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers support comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
  • Protests are being held this week in New Jersey aimed at gaining support for immigration reform from three Republican congressmen - U.S. Rep. Leonard Lances, U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, and U.S. Rep. Chris Smith. Immigration advocates hope to convince the congressmen to vote for the immigration reform bill that passed in the U.S. Senate.
  • Top Colorado faith, law enforcement, business and agriculture leaders gathered for a Congressional District 4 Immigration Roundtable.  The meeting was sponsored by Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Network and the Partnership for a New American Economy as a part of the #BBBwinsAugust campaign, which highlights the support for broad reform in Colorado and urges the state's congressional delegation to vote in favor of commonsense immigration reform.

Over 500 people gathered outside Speaker John Boehner's Springfield Office late last month to ask Boehner and other House of Representative Leaders to call for up a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.

Farenthold defeated longtime Democratic incumbent, Solomon Ortiz, by only 800 votes during the 2010 Tea Party wave. At that time, the district stretched down from Corpus Christi to Brownsville, and Hispanics made up more than 70 percent of the population. Thanks to redistricting, he now sits at a much safer conservative seat.

He may not be safe for long, though, and the same can be said for any Republican that opposes immigration reform.

People all over the country - immigrants and U.S. citizens alike - are rising up to demand passage of immigration reform. No matter how hard they try to avoid discussing citizenship, the GOP-controlled House will be forced to act on this pressing issue. When, and not if, seems to be the real question.

The 2014 midterm elections are coming up. If Congress passes immigration reform this year, Republicans will be forced to answer to constituents that want nothing to do with "amnesty," and potentially even face defeat by more radical primary challengers.

If they don't act now, the voices that demand immigration reform will only continue to grow stronger and further united against those that oppose reform.

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