Tens of thousands of people are headed on buses, planes, trains and automobiles to fill the National Mall on March 21st to demand action, not words, on immigration. See the map of buses and the livestream of marchers’ voices headed to Washington DC this weekend here:


Even in the midst of the healthcare debate, the White House & Congressional leaders have recognized the importance of this issue to America’s communities, families and economy.

Ahead of the March for America, a few important events have happened that the mainstream media is not really covering much in favor of healthcare, including:

  • A recent White House meeting with President Obama and immigrant rights leaders from grassroots, labor, and faith organizations for a meeting at the White House on next steps for comprehensive immigration reform legislation
  • A new bipartisan reform bill put forward by Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
  • Vocal support from the White House for the Schumer-Graham bill: http://bit.ly/9aqjBq

Obama made a campaign promise of immigration reform to key constituencies. Marchers are demanding he make good on that promise by providing a blueprint and a timeline for change. The Schumer-Graham bill is a good step forward. Here’s what the senators have to say about their plan:

Americans overwhelmingly oppose illegal immigration and support legal immigration. Throughout our history, immigrants have contributed to making this country more vibrant and economically dynamic. Once it is clear that in 20 years our nation will not again confront the specter of another 11 million people coming here illegally, Americans will embrace more welcoming immigration policies.

Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization for those already here.

Obama won the 2008 election because of a rainbow coalition. The majority of whites in America didn’t vote for Barack Obama. But it didn’t matter — enough whites combined their votes with the overwhelming majority of Latinos, Asian Americans and African-Americans to tip the balance in a brother’s favor. This issue is of high importance to a whole lot of communities. It’s important to African-Americans too for several reasons. One, we are impacted on the economic level as this issue remains unresolved. Two, conservatives generally fall back on serious, vicious racism to block reform legislation. Three, if Obama and Congress don’t get this done, a second term for the nation’s first black president is at risk.

So I hope you will take time to head down to the March for America on Sunday. If you aren’t able to make it, please tweet your senator (see the widget in our Change Action Center –>). Or click here to fax your Member of Congress and urge them to get busy. Above, Tony Plana, Ugly Betty’s dad, urges folks to pay attention (in Spanish with subtitles) and join the mobile action network, now over 100,000 people strong. Below, here’s Glenn Beck calling people marching for immigration reform — with a likely-to-be high multiracial turnout — “socialists”, “communists”, “anarchists” and my favorite, “the legions of the devil” while calling for “everyday” “regular Americans” to head to the Mall this weekend. Hmm…

Disclosure: the nation’s largest immigration coalition, Reform Immigration for America, is one of Fission Strategy‘s clients. Cheryl Contee is a co-founder of Fission Strategy.

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