Bring it on!
No, I'm not talking about the threat of a government shutdown that is being breathlessly reported by the news media. Nor am I thinking about the 40-plus votes the conservative-controlled House has taken to defund Obamacare.
Instead, I'm referring to the false assumption by the inside-the-Beltway crowd that immigration reform is dead on Capitol Hill.
Tell that to former Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, who told the Irish Immigration Reform Committee over breakfast this week that immigration reform is on the "to-do list" of his GOP colleagues in the House this autumn.
Or try to convince the hundreds of immigrants who packed Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham, NC, last weekend to talk about immigration reform with NC Democratic Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield.
We at the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) are certainly not throwing in the towel.
Last year, in partnership with allies in the Hispanic community, we marched with more than 12 million Latino voters to the polls - a record number - to demand immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
Since then, our organization - comprised of more than 900 councils nationwide - has held more than 60 town halls on immigration reform to share information on how a strong, bipartisan majority in the Senate passed a bill and how the House leadership is turning a deaf ear to the Latino community.
The push continues. On October 5, our volunteers will take part in the National Day of Dignity and Respect, calling on Congress to act on commonsense immigration reform. On October 3, as part of LULAC's "Actober" Fall Advocacy Days, hundreds of our members will descend on Capitol Hill to meet with Senate and House members on issues that impact our community, with immigration reform at the top of the list.
There is no logical reason for the House to stall action on immigration.
The current fight over Obamacare - the Affordable Care Act that was enacted three years ago and upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2012 - is a manufactured political fight and a colossal waste of time. Were House leaders really paying attention to the Latino community, they would be mindful of the fact that the health care law will make insurance more affordable for millions of Latinos and others across the US.
As if trying to end Obamacare is not harsh enough to Hispanic Americans, the House also voted to change the eligibility rules of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the food stamp program. Under the House bill, $39 billion will be cut from the program over 10 years, dropping an estimated 170,000 military vets and 210,000 children who benefit from meals programs at school.
The sad truth is that this is all political theater. House leaders know the reduction in SNAP funding will not be considered by the Senate, and the White House has promised to veto the legislation in the unlikely event that it reaches the president's desk.
LULAC's leaders and members will be on Capitol Hill to push for sensible budget discussions that do not risk nutrition assistance for needy children, critical education programs, or access to health care. In order for our nation to grow and be strong, we need to invest in our future parents, teachers, military service members and leaders.
We also ask Congress to quit wasting time with legislative proposals that are going nowhere and focus on immigration reform that will benefit our national economy and families. It's time to start doing the people's work.
Brent A. Wilkes is the National Executive Director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, this country's largest and oldest Hispanic organization. Wilkes manages the operations of the LULAC National organization regarding national policy, legislative advocacy, program development, and resource development. Follow LULAC on Twitter at @LULAC.