Thursday, January 4, 2007

Miami Herald:Immigrant Groups Set for Charge in Congress With Democrats set to take control of Congress this month, local immigration advocates are planning vigils, lobbying campaigns and demonstrations with renewed hopes that 2007 might bring what so many other years have not: comprehensive immigration reform. "I am firmly convinced that we will have immigration reform in the first part of the year . . . this is the moment," said Nora Sandigo, executive director of American Fraternity. The group has already faxed every member of Congress and plans on starting a prayer vigil as soon as legislation is introduced and continue "until it is passed," Sandigo said. Other organizations, such as Honduran Unity and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center also plan to lobby. Amid all of the advocates' optimism, however, they acknowledge a long legislative road ahead, particularly in the House of Representatives. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., did not put immigration on her list of the party's top issues for her first "100 hours" as leader. The issue appears to be a sensitive one for newly elected House Democrats. Several campaigned against legalizing undocumented immigrants. But with the 2008 presidential year looming, advocates realize that the current political will for changes in immigration law could quickly vanish.