Advocates for immigrant rights are hoping to build on recent political gains. They’re feeling encouraged by the signing of a tuition equity bill, and a shift in Multnomah County’s immigrant detention policy. One advocate in Salem called the past few months a “Latino Spring”, likening the regional political climate to the sea changes throughout the Arab world.
Other groups are just beginning to mobilize. On Sunday, volunteers who worked on Barack Obama’s reelection campaign will gather to encourage members of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, in accord with the President’s agenda. Leanne Baldwin of Southeast Portland sees dramatic shifts in how voters and elected leaders are examining immigration.
“This is something we have known was going to be not he table for a long time,” Baldwin says. “We’ve been preparing for it. We were just waiting for the right time to start organizing around that issue.”
Baldwin says she the bipartisan support developing around immigration reform indicates to her a meaningful reform bill may pass this session.
Some Senate Republicans still express reservations about such a bill, and say the negotiation process has been less than transparent.
This week, a hearing will be held in Oregon’s Capitol on a bill that would permit the state to issue short-term drivers’ licenses to people who can’t prove their citizenship.