With the glow of inauguration beginning to wear off, talks about the second term agenda are already beginning to heat up, setting a high bar for the president, who outlined a long list of goals during his Inaugural speech.
Many expect President Obama to tackle immigration reform first, though he only made a brief mention to the need to repair the broken system in his inaugural speech on Monday:
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.”
On Inauguration Day, a group led by farm workers and advocates, joined an estimated 800,000 people on the National Mall urging attendees to join them by signing an online petition for immigration reform.
A new CNN poll shows that the American people are onboard. 53% think that the federal government should focus on developing a plan that would allow undocumented immigrants to become legal residents, rather than deporting them.
The caravan of farm workers left Florida almost three weeks ago to arrive in Washington, just in time for the Presidential inauguration.
The Forward with Your Promise Caravan said that it came to Washington on the heels of the Inauguration to remind the President of his promise to pass immigration reform during his second term. The White House has signaled it will make a push as early as this month, with a measure aimed at boosting the number of visas available to high-skilled workers and students.
Tirso Moreno, who has spent his life surrounded by farm workers – working in the fields, fighting discrimination and exploitation, and advocating for farm workers’ rights, led the caravan. He said that though talks of immigration reform are on the table, they need to make sure that includes all workers. "We farm workers feed America, there is nothing criminal in that."
The group marched to the White House Tuesday afternoon, to meet with a Department of Agriculture liaison presenting their petition, with about 5,000 signatures, in support of what they call fair and comprehensive immigration reform. The group also met with Sen. Marco Rubio.
Sen. Marco Rubio along with Sen. Orrin Hatch put forward immigration legislation, which is expected to include a high-skilled immigration measure and an alternative form of the Dream Act.
The Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) joined the group on a separate bus to Washington.
Tomas Martinez, a member of GLAHR, joined the movement in 2006 and said that the group still has a lot of work to do. “We talked a lot about Martin Luther King today,” he said. “We are being subjected to much of the same treatment as the African American community during the civil rights movement. Until all people are treated equally, the struggle will go on.”