June 3, 2009 Katherine Vargas: (202) 641-5198
Germonique Ulmer (202) 339-9331
Reform Immigration FOR
coalition joins forces to push for immigration solutions
At today’s press conference, leaders of labor unions, business coalitions, civil rights and religious groups, and pro-immigrant advocacy organizations announced the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign. It is an effort to focus the political power of these diverse constituencies and give the American people a way to communicate their broad support for comprehensive immigration reform directly to lawmakers in
The campaign’s organizers pointed to what they described as “a new political reality for immigration reform.” With a united labor movement and a President committed to comprehensive reform, unprecedented voter mobilization and turnout in immigrant communities last November, polls that consistently show at least 60% of the American people supporting comprehensive immigration reform, and the impossibility of rounding up and deporting 12,000,000 undocumented immigrants, the campaign’s organizers are quite optimistic about the chances for legislative success in 2009.
Furthermore, the campaign announced it was deploying new technologies such as a national text messaging system and various on-line organizing strategies to direct messages from constituents directly to Members of Congress. This is combined with a national campaign staff of organizers and policy experts, as well as the powerful networks of the 200 organizations participating in the campaign.
Ali Noorani, the Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, one of the leaders of the campaign said, “
“For far too long, we have allowed a can’t-do minority to block progress and manipulate this issue to tear out country apart, said Janet Murguia, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and one of the leaders of the campaign. “It is time to say to those blocking the progress
“The time to act is now,” said John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a leading progressive advocacy organization, who spoke at the press conference. “It’s our collective challenge and responsibility to develop and advocate for common-sense immigration reform,” said Podesta, a former White House Chief of Staff and a co-chair of President Obama’s transition team.
“Families are the bedrock of our society, and a system that keeps hard-working, tax-paying, legally present immigrants apart from close family members for years and even decades is bad for
AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker said at the press conference, “Our nation’s broken immigration system isn’t working for anybody -- not immigrant workers who are routinely exploited by companies, and not
“This launch marks the beginning of an historic campaign to achieve immigration reform that is long overdue and desperately needed if we are going to rebuild our economy and make sure the American Dream is alive for our children and grandchildren,” said
Robert J. Dolibois, Executive Vice President of the American Nursery & Landscape Association represented the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, a coalition of business groups that supports comprehensive reform and have been working with labor unions in the agricultural sector and Members of Congress to pass the AgJOBS bill, which is expected to be a component of comprehensive reform. He said at the press conference, “Opponents of immigration reform somehow think that the mass expulsion of millions of hearts and souls living among us merely seeking to better their lives will somehow make us a better nation. One must wonder how ‘biting the proverbial hand that feeds us’ is in the national interest.”
“At the end of the day this is not a political issue but rather one of a moral and spiritual imperative,” said Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Jr., President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, an evangelical leader at the event who represented the faith community, which will play a substantial role in the national campaign. “Every day that passes without comprehensive immigration reform tarnishes the soul of our nation as children are separated from their parents, immigrants hide deeper in the shadows and over 12 million people live in a land without the opportunity of ever experiencing the fullness of life, embracing the hope of liberty or pursuing the promise of happiness.”
“Some may ask, why now? Plain and simple, the
Salas’ organization led a press conference in
Nationally, more than 200 organizations have signed on to the campaign and a national summit of more than 700 advocates and allies of the campaign is taking place today through Friday at Gallaudet University in Washington. A town hall meeting with Members of Congress – likely to be among those to meet with the President at the White House on Monday – takes place Thursday (9:50 a.m. at the
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