A coalition of Latino advocacy groups will begin grading members of Congress on their efforts to pass a comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws, leaders said during a Wednesday press conference.
The report cards will be issued in advance of the 2014 elections “to make sure that our community understands who stood with us and who stood against us,” Ben Monterroso, the executive director of Mi Familia Vota, told reporters. “That way they will be properly informed when they vote.”
“Candidates who ignore this voting block do so at their own peril,” added Max Sevillia, director of policy and legislative affairs at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.
It’s a threat that could resonate with Republicans after an overwhelming majority of the 12.5 million Hispanics who voted supported Democrats in November. Republicans have said immigration reform could be a key component to wooing that voting bloc next cycle.
The activists are calling for a comprehensive bill that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented workers already here. They also want Congress to pass the DREAM Act, remove barriers to naturalization and incorporate measures to promote assimilation.
Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, was optimistic lawmakers would have the political capital to pass an overhaul before Congress adjourns in August.
Members of Congress and the president will be rated on “how aggressively they championed comprehensive immigration reform or whether they tried to block it,” according to the coalition.
The groups will also host a series of immigration-focused fly-ins this spring. The NCLR will bring as many as 500 activists to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers in March. The coalition is working with African-American, labor and even business groups to help make its case.
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., left, David Goldman, center, and Arvind Chawdra right, attend a news conference in the Rayburn House Office Building on international child abduction. Goldman and Chawdra are fathers whose children were abducted by their mothers and taken abroad.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.