I've been getting a lot of email messages from advocates who have been expressing their sadness over the passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy. I thought I’d share some of them with you.
We reported today about his mixed reputation in the South. Liberals loved him for championing education, health care and civil rights. Conservatives saw him as the definition of liberalism, big government and an advocate for entitlement programs.
Among immigrant rights’ groups, he was a national hero.
Here are excerpts from what they had to say:
If your American family began its journey in this country with the arrival in the last four decades of a single refugee or immigrant striving for a better life, you owe a special debt of gratitude to Senator Kennedy. The way to give back is to personally commit yourself to fighting for the justice, civil rights, and basic American decency that Senator Kennedy fought for throughout his life.
- Rich Stolz, Campaign Manager for the Reform Immigration for America campaign.
The great-grandson of eight immigrants to America, the brother of two of America's most visionary leaders on fighting for a fair and just immigration system, Senator Kennedy was in his own right the architect of the modern struggle to honor America's legacy as nation built by, populated by, and defined by immigrants from around the world.
--Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan, non-profit pro-immigrant advocacy organization in Washington.
Senator Kennedy worked tirelessly for the past five decades to make the U.S. immigration system one that is color-blind, more just, and a safe haven for people fleeing persecution and upheaval around the world. In so doing, Senator Kennedy helped change the character of the immigration system, and indeed the country, bringing the United States a step closer to its founding ideals of fairness and opportunity for all.
-- Doris Meissner, who heads Migration Policy Institute’s U.S. Immigration Policy Program and served as INS Commissioner during the Clinton administration.