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OFA won't let lawmakers ignore the cost of their inaction

The cost of the House of Representatives' inaction on immigration reform is now up to $10 billion, but the drumbeat for reform is growing louder and louder. OFA volunteers are mobilizing on the ground, over the airwaves, and in packed auditoriums from coast to coast for reform.

Miami, Florida—OFA immigration leader Elvira Diaz, was a guest on the Enrique Santos Show. Elvira, a staunch advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, told listeners why reform matters to her, and urged them to join this fight. She shared her own story and the stories of everyday people she’s met on the ground.

Santos, a longtime voice for immigration reform, airs his show in 15 major markets—all of them in or near the 34 key congressional districts OFA is focusing on. Listen to the interview in Spanish or read the English transcript below.

Franklin, Wisconsin—OFA-WI and the Fast for Families bus tour showed up at a town hall with Representative Paul Ryan. Several OFA volunteers were able to confront Representative Ryan about his inaction on comprehensive immigration reform.

Lakeland, Florida—OFA volunteers and the Coalition of Immokalee workers held a rally in support of immigration reform.

Ferrum, Virginia – OFA-VA Dream Teams took part in a conference on immigration reform at Ferrum College. More than a hundred volunteers gathered to talk about the cost of inaction and discuss how they’re mobilizing their communities to act on reform.

Orlando, Florida—OFA-FL volunteers from across central Florida were joined by National Issues Campaign Director Lindsay Siler for a comprehensive immigration reform round table.

OFA supporters are working every day to spread the word on the importance of comprehensive immigration reform. The cost of inaction is too high—chip in to say you're ready to move this issue forward.
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Read the English translation of OFA volunteer Elvira's interview with the Enrique Santos radio show:

Radio Host: Let's talk to our friend Elvira Diez, a volunteer for Organizing for Action in Reno, Nevada. Elvira is one of the volunteers that’s been working hard for immigration reform. She deserves a huge round of applause from our Latino friends. Elvira, how are you?

Elvira: We are very well and very happy that your audience is listening and ready to push for a change on immigration reform.

Radio Host: Let me ask you this: Is this something personal, a personal fight? Why are you so involved?

Elvira: Yes, this is personal. When I came to this country pursuing the American Dream, I had the opportunity to get a visa and was fortunate enough to get my legal residency relatively soon. And I thought that everyone came to the U.S. like me. I got involved because I like to help the community.

When I arrived, I was 26 and I didn't speak any English, just Spanish. I started volunteering as a catechist in a Catholic Church many years ago, but to make a long story short, I was preparing a group of 40 seven-year-olds for their First Communion. I noticed that they weren’t paying attention. They were distracted and nervous, and I thought it was strange that they were behaving this way at such a young age. They seemed very stressed. That was in 1992, when Pete Wilson started with Proposition 187.

It was the beginning of all the challenges we were facing. I called the parents in for a meeting and we decided to make signs that said, “NO 187.” And we decided to get together in a neighborhood that was considered a very white. I was expecting my 40 children to show up, so I was surprised that I had 200 children ready when I arrived.

Radio Host: Wow!

Elvira: I was the only adult there, and I was surrounded by 200 children from all ages fighting to defeat Pete Wilson's Proposition 187, which is similar to the actual law in Arizona.

Radio Host: Correct.

Elvira: Thank God it didn't pass! But that was when I began to see this as a personal fight. All these children that were 7 when I was 26, they are now known as the DREAMers, and we’ve been fighting for immigration reform since 1992. Thank God these children qualify for DACA and the DREAM Act, that they all have work permits, that approximately half a million of them are working now. They have cars, they travel, they are productive members of the economy. Unfortunately, they are afraid that their parents will be deported and their families will be separated.

Radio Host: I’m telling you that everyone is motivated because of the passion of stories like yours. This passion is what should keep all the organizers full of energy, with a full tank, to continue marching, calling their representatives, organizing rallies; doing everything that is needed to continue fighting for immigration reform, which I’m sure we’ll see happen soon in this country. I truly believe that, so we can’t afford to give up. We must continue with our fight, and you can join the fight right now by visiting Elvira, thank you for everything you do. Thank you for sharing your story with us and inspiring our Latino community.

Elvira: We—everyone that is listening—have the power to make immigration reform a reality.
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