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Leaders: Together We'll Pass Immigration Reform In 2010

 immigration, reform, 2010, america, us, immigrants, american, hispanic, spanish speaking, latin, latino, latina, minority, news, black radio, network





Leaders: We Are In This Together; We'll Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2010



Washington D.C. - Today, major leaders of the immigration reform movement convened to review the achievements of the reform movement in 2009, and discussed how they will pass reform in 2010. The meeting featured major leaders of the Catholic Church, immigrant's rights, progressive, Latino, African-American, labor, and business organizations.

On a telephonic conference call, leaders from these organizations pointed out how they are working together, and what they have collectively achieved in 2010. Additionally, they discussed how they plan to achieve reform in 2010 despite a crowded legislative calendar.


Today's teleconference follows major developments in the push toward comprehensive immigration reform. In November, the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign organized more than 1000 house parties in 45 states for a conference call with Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Congressman Grijalva (D-AZ) and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). More than 60,000 Americans listened to the call. That same month, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, along with White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod signaled that the White House is committed to comprehensive immigration reform. Just this week, Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), joined by a large and diverse number of Congressional allies, introduced the first comprehensive immigration reform legislation, H.R. 4321, of the 111th Congress with 91 co-sponsors. At a joint appearance at the Center for America Progress, Secretaries Hilda Solis and Gary Locke of Labor and Commerce respectively, indicated that the administration is committed to achieving reform.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, made the moral case for reform. "Our country needs immigration reform that upholds human dignity and reflects Americans' standards of decency and compassion. Comprehensive immigration reform will strengthen families, ensure that workers are treated fairly, and improve the economy," said Cardinal Mahony.

Clarissa Martinez, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza said that the Latino community stands ready to fix the broken status quo. "Health care reform makes clear that any effort to change the status quo is an uphill battle.  But we must fight for change, particularly when immigration status quo clearly runs contrary to the interests of our country by weakening our economic recovery, making all workers more vulnerable, breaking apart families, destabilizing communities, and fostering a black market for immigration when law and order are needed. Latinos stand with the vast majority of all Americans who support immigration reform that restores dignity and the rule of law to our system, and moves us towards solutions rather than vexation. "

Mark Lauritsen, Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) said in a statement* that the status quo is hurting our economy. "For too long our nation's broken immigration system has hurt workers and wreaked havoc on families and communities. It has allowed unscrupulous employers to drive down wages and working conditions by creating a system where discrimination, exploitation and abuse run rampant. Enough is enough. We need an immigration system that works for the American worker-a system where hard work is respected and workers are protected. The UFCW is committed to making comprehensive immigration reform a reality, and we will continue to organize and mobilize working families across the country in support of that goal."

Craig Regelbrugge, Co Chair of the Agriculture Commission for Immigration Reform said businesses need reform to create jobs, foster economic stability, and get the economy moving again. "Employers want to retain jobs and create new ones.  Yet, our broken immigration system is a drag on economic recovery, across the economy.  For the technology sector, it's a question of whether job-expanding innovation will happen here, or in Canada or China or India.  For our food system, a stable and legal labor force is essential to our ability to produce vegetables, fruit, milk, and meat here in the U.S.  And if we are producing here, we will continue to employ American workers who are making and selling fertilizer, tools and equipment, and packaging.  We will continue to employ Americans in management, marketing, lending, and insurance.  If the production goes overseas, so go those jobs, something we can ill afford in this economy."  


Immigration reform is more than an economic issue, however. It's also about civil rights, said Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights. "We at the Leadership Conference consider immigration reform to be one of the preeminent civil and human rights issues of our time. Our broken immigration system is holding our country back in a number of ways, including health care reform and our ability to provide economic security to millions of Americans. So those who say this is not the time to pass comprehensive immigration reform have it completely backwards. The time is now, and America is ready for change," said Henderson.


"Promises to repair the broken immigration system played an important role in the 2008 elections, and voters sent a clear signal that they want the government to solve problems. The integration of immigrants into our increasingly diverse nation is a key vision of progressives and the Center for American Progress  (CAP) has been working to enact legislation that enhances our economic security, secures our borders and protects all workers. Mass deportation is not a solution, it's a soundbite. President Obama and Congress are preparing to carry out their commitment to reform the immigration system early next year.  Today, CAP issued its Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that promote strong families, secure communities, and a competitive workforce," said Angela Kelley, Vice President for Immigration Policy and Advocacy.


Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and Chair of the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign, summed up the group's efforts, "The mobilization of Americans in 45 states last month and the increased activity of major administration officials demonstrate that immigration reform is sure to be a major legislative issue in 2010 - and only the beginning of a major escalation of activity. The diversity and depth of leaders and organization working on this issue underscore the urgency of passing reform that finally fixes our broken immigration system in 2010. We are working together to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality," said Noorani. 


# # #


*Although UFCW's Mark Lauritsen was unable to join the call because he was on a plane, he offered a statement previous to the conference call.


ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN: The Reform Immigration FOR America campaign is a coalition of more than 600 faith, labor, business, progressive, and immigration reform groups that have joined together to get comprehensive immigration reform passed.  For more information please visit




Martine Apodaca (202) 383-5989


STORY TAGS: immigration, reform, 2010, america, us, immigrants, american, hispanic, spanish speaking, latin, latino, latina, minority, news, black radio, network

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