President Cruz Reynoso delivered the introductory remarks at LULAC (League of Latin American Citizens) sponsored student and community meeting entitled “Realizing the Dream: Immigration Reform in 2013.” .
Reynoso summarized the current status of Congressional hearings but he stressed the background to the current debate. President Carter appointed Reynoso to the Commission on Immigration and Refugee policy in the late 1980’; the work of the commission resulted in the l986 reform including the successful amnesty program which permitted the undocumented to legalize their stay in this country. The Commission concluded that most of the undocumented came to this country to work. Control depended on the employers. Accordingly, the Commission recommended that employers be sanctioned. However, in the course of history since l986 the law was enforced contrary to the Commission recommendations. It was the undocumented who suffered and the law was not enforced against the employers. They recruited the undocumented with impunity, yet it was the undocumented who were arrested. The employers had political influence to prevent enforcement. Thus, until recently the country had a de jure law ( a written law) which told the undocumented “do not come” and a de facto law (the actual practice) which told them “please come.” Courts consider the de facto law the actual law.
With respect to the process in Washington it seems clear the new law will protect the Dreamers, the farm workers, and the skilled workers. All other matters are still up in the air. Groups like LULAC, the Mario G. Obledo National Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, and a multitude of persons and organizations must continue to urge Congress to pass a fair and humane law.
The meeting took place at the University of California at Davis, California. LULAC is sponsoring such conferences throughout the country. The University meeting was supported by the Department of Chicana/o Studies as well as other University departments and student organizations. After the introductory remarks Reynoso took on the role of moderator for the five distinguished panel members including a law student, the Dean of the Law School, a representative of LULAC and several other organizations.