Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast. To contact him, visit his website.
Osman Villanueva, 23, of Baltimore, Md., watches as immigration-reform supporters march by the Capitol during a rally in Washington, on Sunday, March 21, 2010. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Last Sunday, 200,000 immigrant-rights protesters shared the National Mall with a Tea Party crowd that shouted racial epithets and spat at members of Congress. Unsurprisingly, the media focused on the histrionics of the Tea Partiers, but Sunday's immigration demonstration was an important manifestation of the movement's building impatience. In its enthusiasm and optics -- legal and undocumented immigrants chanting "Sí se puede," singing folk songs, and waving both American and Mexican flags -- the demonstration was reminiscent of the immigration protests in 2006.
For the first time since the Public Policy Institute of California started keeping track, a majority (50 percent) of Californians favor allowing same-sex marriage. In their statistical samples, the number had never risen above 45 percent. This is consistent with Nate Silver's statistical prediction showing California would "turn" in 2010 -- and also good news for those currently collecting signatures to put a Prop. 8 repeal on the ballot this year.
Yesterday's major immigration-reform demonstration on the National Mall took a backseat to the 11th-hour wrangling over health care in the House of Representatives – and the histrionics of the much smaller Tea Party crowd yelling racial and homophobic slurs at members of Congress. That seemed to underscore the very reason the pro-immigration crowd is so frustrated: Despite having promised to make immigration reform a "top priority" in his first year, Obama's efforts have been concentrated on health care. But the demonstrators drew a line in the sand.
Most of the final negotiations over health care have turned on the abortion language, but last week members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus joined the fray, threatening to vote "no" on the Senate version because it prohibits undocumented immigrants from participating in insurance exchanges. In a recent appearance on On the Record, Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez pledged to vote down the bill, saying it prevented undocumented immigrants from abiding by the requirement that everyone have health insurance.