Press Release from LUPE…
LUPE Applauds Rep. Gutierrez for Taking the Lead on Immigration Reform Legislation
Today, hundreds of immigrant leaders and representatives called upon Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to lead a strategy in the coming weeks that will get specific comprehensive immigration reform legislation introduced and moving through the halls of Congress. With the overwhelming support of communities across the country, Rep. Gutierrez agreed to do so at an event in Washington organized by the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (a network of pro-immigrant advocacy groups) as part of their Citizenship Day celebration.
Rep. Gutierrez played a pivotal role in the Familias Unidas interfaith tour earlier this year that introduced families separated from loved ones by our broken immigration system to his colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and House Democratic Leadership, and helped build compassion and support for immigration reform.
“The immigrant community in South Texas is ready to support a bill that fixes our broken immigration system,” said Juanita Valdez-Cox. “We support Rep. Gutierrez and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ commitment to taking bold action to break through the years-long stalemate on Capitol Hill.”
Valdez-Cox said LUPE members expect the Gutierrez’s effort to lead to a progressive immigration bill which has the following features:
• A path to earned legal status and eventual citizenship for the current undocumented immigrant population.
• Programs that keep American families together.
• Allocation of sufficient visas to close unlawful migration channels.
• Labor rights guarantees for immigrant and native-born workers.
• Enforcement measures that enhance our nation’s security and safety while reflecting American values.
• A commitment to assisting immigrant integration.
• Protection of fundamental rights for all.
“We are confident that if we can get the game started, we can win just and fair immigration reform,” said Martha Sanchez, LUPE Organizing Coordinator. “It will take leadership and a sense of urgency. Rep. Gutierrez and the CHC had the courage to stand up and tell the stories of our separated families at a time when people weren’t listening. Now they are stepping up to the plate again to get things moving in Congress around an immigration reform bill. We hope members of the Texas delegation join in them in making the passage of an immigration bill a top priority.”
While a great deal of attention has been focused on health care reform – and rightly so – the urgent need for immigration reform has not diminished. If anything, the acrimony, deception and scapegoating of immigrants in the debate over healthcare reform has underscored the need for a comprehensive immigration solution. Immigrants, faith leaders, businesses, labor unions, progressive groups, and a broad coalition across the political spectrum want the broken immigration system fixed now.
“We need smart, sensible, American solutions to the issues facing our communities, and that includes immigrants,” Sanchez said. “We take citizenship very seriously and want to help move our nation toward a future where the contributions of every sector of our society are appreciated.”