January 19, 2006
As many of you likely read in the news, the in-state tuition bill, around which Tekiah had organized for the past few years, lost on January 11. I’m sorry that we haven’t said anything about it yet, but it has taken some time to figure out exactly how to respond to what is both a personal disappointment and an injustice.
The bill lost by a large margin — a vote of 57 for to 96 against. This was nearly the reverse of what the campaign expected; we knew that it would be difficult (though not impossible) to reach the 107 votes needed to override Romney’s veto, but we were confident that we would muster the 81-vote majority needed for the bill to pass. To see whether your representative supported immigrant students and to offer your thanks or your complaint, visit the Mira Coalition website. http://www.miracoalition.org/index.pl/issues/state/higher-education/updates/in-state-tuition-bill-defeated-in-the-house2#WXmz_EBzci_RVtPxAXPewQ
It’s still not clear what caused this disconnect between our expectations and the actual results. It seems likely that many legislators, facing anti-immigrant pressure and seeing that the bill was unlikely to pass, decided to vote against it. If so, it’s quite sad that their political maneuvering has set back the cause of immigrant rights.
So what comes next? It’s early to say, but I can offer a few initial thoughts.
1. First off, thank you for all the work that you have done. Tekiah has been an important part of this campaign, and every action that we have taken, individually and collectively, to support this campaign has helped to advance the struggle for immigrant rights and to strengthen progressive
2. The fight will continue. Some of the best reminders of this have come from the students, who have shown great wisdom and insight in this process. One student leader, Carlos, said, “We must continue to be
unified, to work together. I would rather lose like this, together, knowing what we are fighting for, then win alone. This is bigger than the in-state bill. This is about a movement. We will force them to recognize us. We showed them now that we exist- they had to talk about immigrants for an entire day at the state house. They chose to do the wrong thing.
But we will not go away. We are here to stay.”
3. At the same time, because of the vote, legislative progress on the bill has stopped until after this Fall’s elections. I hope that we can take some time to reflect on how what we did to support the campaign and how we might do better in the future. If you meant for your synagogue or organization to get involved but never made it happen, how can we work together to make that go forward in the future? This is a time to build and to continue to educate and build support.