Members from labor, religious and advocacy groups from around the nation attended the forum. Although, I could not stay for the entire meeting because I had to catch my flight home, I was amazed at the energy and positive messages from all who spoke. The central message is that we must not attach isolated reform measures to bills that would address only one issue in a piece meal fashion. Rather, we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform that embraces all immigration issues including the DREAM Act, visa issues and even CNMI green cards for nonresidents. The focus was that we must pass one comprehensive immigration reform bill this year.
The president of the Farm Workers Union and other national immigration reform leaders spoke. There were calls for a march on Washington, DC, calls to mobilize the grassroots, and mention of the need to reach all of our individual members of Congress in our home states. Again everyone embraced the basic message that the bill must pass and this is the year!
How hard would it be to register everyone? Start alphabetically calling people in to register. This is not 1,000,000 people, or 100,000, or 50,000, or 25,000 people! I could figure out how to get statistics on 16,000 to 18,000 people. A government agency can't?
Furthermore, DOI and DHS knew what statistics they had to work with and what they would have to do one year ago. GAO could assist in this. They need to stop making excuses. They still have time to get the information that they require. They can get GAO to help, DHS to start a registration of nonresidents now, or hire a consultant to get it done. A delay for this reason is out of the question.