Hispanic activist groups gathered in Washington, D.C. last week, threatening lawmakers that they will keep an immigration reform “report card” next year and punish members of Congress that do not vote for legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for all illegal immigrants in the country.
Eliseo Medina, the secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union, said Hispanic groups would be “watching” members of Congress to determine “who stood with us and who stood against us.”
“Immigration reform will happen,” Medina said. “Whether it will happen over the political bodies… of some of the current members of Congress, only they can decide. They will come to vote for immigration reform.”
Medina’s words took on an even more threatening tone: “They can come out of their own will because it’s the right thing to do or they can come kicking and screaming, but they will come. I guarantee that.”
Medina, according to the New York Times, said Hispanic groups would engage in “massive” grassroots campaigns and that “it’s going to be a doozy.”
Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, a radical advocacy group, said Hispanic groups “worked to build our power and now we intend to use it” after the 2012 elections. She suggested the election results gave Obama a mandate to push for immigration reform.
“The bottom line is that Latino voters went to the polls with the economy on their minds but with immigration reform in their hearts,” she said.
The leaders of the the Hispanic activist groups said they wanted comprehensive immigration reform to include a path to citizenship for all illegal immigrants currently in the country and wanted legislation finalized by August.
They vowed to lead campaigns to “naturalize Latino immigrants and to register and mobilize Latino voters.” They then plan to galvanize those voters to attempt to reward or punish politicians based on how they vote on immigration reform legislation.