Seriously, I can’t quite believe it.  The Senate managed to give me a birthday gift, Christmas present, and welcome basket beyond my wildest expectations on the day that I was installed as AILA’s President.  S. 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” was passed by the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 68 to 32.

Despite the issues with this bill, and there are a lot of them, let’s be honest, it remains that this bill is a concrete framework with which we can work.  We’re immigration lawyers, and we know that the legislative wording really boils down to real people, their real lives, and real impact.  It’s not a perfect bill, but no compromise measure ever is or will be.  Instead it is a huge step forward on the road to immigration reform that will make a difference to millions of people.

So, thank you to the U.S. Senate, all the hours of work the staff of the “Gang of Eight” and all the Senators, who put this bill together.  Thank you to the stakeholders, the groups and organizations that offered analysis and advice, including our own AILA National staff who all worked however possible to highlight ways to make the bill better.  Thank you to all the AILA members who called their Senators, talked to staff, encouraged clients to share stories, or contacted the media to support real reform.

But most of all, thank you to the immigrants, those documented and undocumented, family and friends, siblings and strangers, who made the case in their communities.  Our nation is not just a nation of immigrants, it is a nation of communities and the sheer power of a multitude of communities coming together has been proven again.

There’s a long road ahead, and it leads right through the House of Representatives, and I can tell you right now there are people who are saying immigration reform is already dead because of what the House leadership has said they will and won’t do.  But we need to call again on the communities that we have built, we need to get out there and be heard.  We need to make the case in every Congressional district, in every state, all across the nation. We’re closer now, than we have ever been.  Our country needs real immigration reform and I ask all of you to fight for it with me.