CHICAGO - Recently, Illegal immigration activists came together with gay activists at Columbia College to explore the parallels between LGBT rights and immigration rights activism, and consider what strategies illegal immigration activists might borrow from the gay marriage push. The forum, "Rethinking Immigration Reform and Lessons Learned from the LGBTQ Community," was sponsored by Latino Policy Forum and Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action ( ALMA ).
Panelists included state Rep. Kelly Cassidy; David Munar, CEO and President of Howard Brown Health Center; and Moises Hernandez of Latinos Progresando. The panel was moderated by Julio Rodriguez of ALMA, and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez was a keynote speaker.
"We had huge help from our partners in immigration community," Cassidy said. "We have to keep in mind that marriage isn't necessarily a capstone but a tipping point. Once comprehensive immigration reform is passed, it won't be the end [of immigration-related issues] either."
According to The Windy City Times, many of the participants stressed that the "comprehensive" aspect of immigration reform might be one of its most problematic components, suggesting that activists might want to focus on specific parts of reform in a piecemeal manner.
David Munar noted, "Stuff that bars folks from citizenship creates a permanent second class. That's what's fearful to our opponents—the powers of our citizenship used against them. … If we have to make incremental progress, we have to be ready to not let go."