What is S.1932 and How did ImmigrationVoice start?
What is S.1932?
In Nov 2005, the US Senate was passing the Budget Reconciliation Bill S.1932 which contained a couple of immigration reforms for legal immigrants. The two sections were 8001 and 8002. The actual text for these sections can be obtained here
These sections contained provisions that would have lessened the effects of retrogression and The Senate had already passed this bill on a party line vote and it was sent to the House. The anti-immigrant lobby held the republicans in the House to ransom and threatened to defeat the bill if the immigration provisions were not removed from the bill. Their pitch was that immigration reforms should not be sneaked into a budget reconciliation bill.
Caving to pressure and left with no choice, the republican leaders in the House modified S.1932 and passed that bill without the immigration benefits among other things. Since the passing of the bill was very important for the Republicans and the White House and since President Bush's approval ratings had gone down drastically at that time, he could not enforce his will on the House.
Since the bills varied from each other, it was sent to a conference committee. The committee comprised of a few senators like Judiciary Committee chairman Senator Specter and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Sensenbrenner. The immigrant community was very hopeful that the Senator Specter would ensure that sections 8001 and 8002 remain in the final S.1932 bill.
Unfortunately that was not the case and the immigration sections were sacrificed to get other sections of the bill passed.
Whats this got to do with ImmigrationVoice.org?
When the above bills were being debated, some visitors to the Attorney Rajeev Khanna's ImmigrationPortal.com website started posting useful information which other members could use. Slowly but surely, new members started to follow it more closely and report up to the minute happenings to the forum. A lot of members who had access to C-Span.org video stream from their offices viewed the senate voting etc. and reported the results on the forums for others to see. When newcomers joined the forums, knowledgeable posters like sun_joshi, WaldenPond and many others would help them out with useful posts. Soon a large number of members started making phone calls and send faxes to the lawmakers. This was an unorganized effort but the level of participation was extremely encouraging.
Another important person in the happenings then was Attorney Matthew Oh (MN) of http://www.immigration-law.com. He would post the latest information that he got through his sources and make it available on his website. This helped a lot of us know what was actually going on. We are very glad that he has recognized the efforts of ImmigrationVoice and posted a link to us on his website.
When the S.1932 went to the conference committee, we heard conflicting reports about whether or not the sections 8001 and 8002 were dropped. This led to a massive faxing/emailing of letters to a majority of senators and congressmen from their constituents who were also visitors to the forums. I had called Senator Specter's office a couple of times at this time since I belong to his constituency and was pleasantly surprised when the staffer mentioned to me that atleast a hundred people had called before me endorsing the sections.
But as we all know now, our efforts did not achieve the results we wanted them to achieve. During this time, Aman Kapoor (aka WaldenPond) an active poster at the forums announced a conference call to start this non-profit organization with the objective to end retrogression by creating representation for the community that had no representation. After an initial lukewarm response, few other active posters joined the team.
Thus was born Immigration Voice. The some of the posters who inspired everyone else to do something about their situation on Immigration Portal in Dec-2005, today are the core members of ImmigrationVoice.