Yesterday, more than one hundred women were arrested near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. while protesting the recent announcement by the House of Representatives that comprehensive immigration reform is not likely to be taken up this fall. After a summer of agitation, protests, public advocacy, and much activism, the picture remains gloomy. Among those arrested were leaders of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and other women’s advocacy groups, as well as undocumented women who risked everything by engaging in the sit down protest.
The bitter truth is that only massive marches and a great outpouring of nationwide protests, similar to those witnessed in the sixties during the struggle for Civil Rights have a chance to move Congress in the near term. The Republican-dominated House is largely paralyzed, as the Tea Party’s backers are locked in a struggle with establishment Republicans for control of the House agenda. The president seems helpless and distracted by other priorities, and in the meantime, thousands of families are facing the hard edge of the immigration enforcement juggernaut. A brighter future is on hold for now, but as the old Civil Rights song affirms, “We shall overcome.”