No Excuses on Immigration Reform

Less than a week to go till the March FOR America and the immigration blame game is kicking into full gear. Democrats are blaming Republicans, Republicans are blaming Democrats. Meanwhile, the DC punditry - aided and abetted by a front page Washington Post story that doesn't have a source to cite - is tripping over itself to write the immigration reform obituary.

But, across the nation, leadership from labor, faith, business, African American and immigrant communities are saying one thing: No Excuses.

An entire nation of voters - Conservatives, Independents and Liberals - is calling for immigration reform. In this case, the only thing to fear is fear itself.

But, America is not afraid: The 43 buses coming this weekend from Florida to DC aren't afraid; the young people on the Trail of Dreams now walking through South Carolina on their way to DC aren't afraid; the day laborers walking from Long Island to DC aren't afraid; nor, are the 15 buses traveling from Texas to DC this weekend aren't afraid.

America wants an immigration system that serves our nation's interests and they are tired of the partisan bickering and political fear mongering. No Excuses.

And, I believe our leaders realize that the tens of thousands of Americans on the National Mall this weekend don't want to hear excuses.

For example, I participated in the meeting the President had with immigration reform advocates last week.

I saw the frustration on the President's face when leaders of the Catholic and Evangelical community told him immigration reform was a matter of moral imperative. I saw the frustration on the President's face when labor leaders told him the American worker - their members - need immigration reform as much as any immigrant worker. I saw the frustration on the President's face as advocates painted a clear picture of the impact of the raids on immigrant communities.

I also saw a resolve on the President's face to move forward. I heard a commitment that he wants immigration reform and he wants to get it done now.

And, from conversations on the Hill - and media accounts - Senators Schumer and Graham are ready to move forward with a bipartisan legislative framework.

As we enter the homestretch to March 21st I realize the President, Schumer and Graham are talking the talk. The question is, will they walk the walk?

Senator Graham has faced censures and catcalls from Republicans in South Carolina for his stand on comprehensive immigration reform. Senator Schumer has withstood the pressure of competing priorities to stand for comprehensive immigration reform. And, President Obama has withstood the fears of race and class to stand for comprehensive immigration reform.

Before March 21st, will these men stand together and ally themselves with tens of thousands of Americans Marching FOR America and commit to a bipartisan legislative package and clear timeline so Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform in 2010?

The eyes of America are watching. No Excuses.