A close call for immigration reform

by Cristina Villarreal

On September 7, 2010 Mayor Richard Daley announced he would not run for re-election for mayor of Chicago.  After 21 years as Mayor, he decided he was ready to retire.  For many of us young Chicagoans we do not remember any other Mayor of Chicago.   The implication of this was huge for Chicago, but could also have had huge implications for immigration reform.

Five Latinos were attempting to be the very first Latino Mayor of Chicago.  Congressman Luis Gutierrez was among those who were interested in running for Mayor.  Congressman Gutierrez has been an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.  Many will remember that Representative Gutierrez was arrested in May for protesting the failure of the President and Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform in front of the White House.  Last week Rep. Gutierrez announced he would not run in spite of having already started the petition process to run.

For those who do not live in Chicago this may not have been news or on anyone’s radar, but it is important for those fighting for comprehensive immigration reform.  The Congressman is the strongest and loudest advocate in Washington D.C. at the moment.  If he had left the fight in D.C. to change to a more local focus we would have lost a strong leader in the movement.  While I am sure the Congressman had many aspirations for Mayor, I am glad he made the decision to continue the fight for those who have no representation.  I am encouraged by his statement, “I have an obligation not to give up on the fight I’ve already begun.  I have unfinished business to complete. His hard work, sacrifice, and determination are greatly appreciated, and not just here in Chicago, but nationally. And he does indeed still have unfinished business.  The fight for comprehensive immigration reform continues!

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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