Immigrant rights forum in San Diego

October 21, 2009

SAN DIEGO--Some 60 people attended an all-day conference at San Diego City College October 17 to discuss organizing for immigrant rights. The event, planned for months in advance, ended up attracting both a number of local immigrant rights organizers and coalitions, as well as a dozen or more students.

California state Sen. Gil Cedillo, author of a recently passed state Senate resolution calling for a moratorium on federal immigration enforcement until the passage of reform legislation, spoke, alongside Rep. Bob Filner.

The keynote speaker was Nativo López, of Hermandad Mexicana in Los Angeles. López argued that President Barack Obama must be criticized for his accelerated immigration enforcement policies, just as George W. Bush was criticized. Furthermore, he argued that the time to push for immigration reform is now--Congressional Democrats say that if no bill is passed by March 2010, it will have to wait until 2011, by which time pollsters project the Democrats will have a reduced Congressional delegation.

A major theme of the conference was solidarity between the immigrant and LGBT rights movements. One workshop dealt with the potential to include same-sex couples in legalization legislation. One conference attendee who is a German immigrant described his absurd situation, in which his marriage to a man could lead to his deportation as evidence of "intent to immigrate"!

The conference voted in its final plenary session to build for a local "Mobilization for Legalization."

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