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5 May, 2010 20:53

US immigration movement missing a leader

The immigration movement in the United States has the numbers to make a difference, but no activist has stepped forward to become a leader for the cause.

The 1963 March on Washington is one of the major events in US history. It was part of a vast movement that led to sweeping changes – reform on civil rights. The unifying force here – a clergyman from Georgia, Martin Luther King, Jr.

“All men, yes black men and well as white men,” he said in his speech on the Mall on Washington, “would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Today, leaders like Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have continued to lead the charge in fighting for civil rights.

Since that time many other groups have fought different battles The anti-war movement today has leaders like Cindy Sheehan, a mother whose son was killed in the war, which she says we shouldn’t be fighting at all. Many believe the anti-war ideal was a top issue in deciding the 2008 presidential election.

“John McCain was for the invasion of Iraq I was against it,” candidate Obama said in a speech in Great Falls, Montana.

Then there was the labor movement, which featured Cesar Chavez fighting for the rights of farmworkers. So what’s missing from today’s immigration reform movement? A leader.

“We have many voices,” said Enrique Morones. Morones is president and founder of the Border Angels, a group that focuses on immigrant rights and works to prevent the deaths of those trying to cross the border. He says what makes the immigration reform movement is its diversity.

“Unlike the far right where they all walk lock and step with the same sayings and expressions and you don’t see diversity in thought,” Morones said. “With us you do see a diversity in thought, people of all colors and sizes and ideologies.”

But this diversity could also be a liability when trying to get people from various backgrounds to unite behind a single leader. The fight for immigration rights has been going on since 2006, some would say since before, and reform has yet to come.