By Jorge Bańales
WASHINGTON – Thirteen immigrants including a number of farm workers, who had traveled 1,600 kilometers (995 miles) in a caravan from Florida, called Tuesday in the U.S. capital for President Barack Obama to stop deportations and for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
“We are here to remind the president and the Congress of the promise that was made to us to work to make a reality of comprehensive immigration reform,” Tirso Moreno, general coordinator for the Farmworker Association of Florida, said in a press conference.
Moreno and another 10 activists left 18 days ago from Florida and along the way picked up another two militants who, in two SUVs and a car and with a tight budget that allowed $5.00 per meal, they traveled through various states making contact with groups of migrant workers.
The activists have now met with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and have asked for a meeting with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Tuesday afternoon, they said, they will have meetings with White House staff.
Hispanics are the new blacks of this country, Daniel Barajas, representative of the Forward With Your Promise coalition, which makes its own use of Obama’s “Forward” electoral campaign slogan, said.
“Politicians sit there and they preach and talk ... about family values, and how (for) a society to succeed, it needs great family values...But they just sit there on the side, twiddling their thumbs, while families are being ripped apart daily (by deportations),” Barajas said.
In the four years of Obama’s first term in office, U.S. authorities deported almost 1.6 million people, an average of 32,800 a month, compared with a monthly average of 20,900 during the two terms of President George W. Bush, and a monthly average of 9,100 during the eight years when Bill Clinton was in the White House.
In August 2012, the Obama administration launched its so-called “deferred action,” which suspends the deportation of undocumented young people who were brought to the United States when they were children, on a number of conditions such as attending school and having no criminal record. EFE