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Marie Watteau
(202) 785-1670
May 20, 2009


Washington, DC-NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, today praised two encouraging signs of progress toward comprehensive immigration reform: the introduction of the "Reuniting Families Act" by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and Charles Schumer (D-NY) and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing, "Securing the Borders and America's Points of Entry, What Remains to Be Done." This important legislation and hearing call attention to the urgent need for action to reform of our broken immigration system.

"NCLR thanks Senators Menendez, Gillibrand, Kennedy, and Schumer for their continued leadership on reforming the family immigration system. Family unity is a fundamental principle in our country, and it is against our values to separate spouses from one another and parents from their children for up to a decade as we currently do in our outdated immigration system," said Janet MurguĂ­a, NCLR President and CEO.

The country's legal immigration system is clogged. Each year, the number of family members who apply for a visa through the family preference categories exceeds the number of visas available, resulting in waiting periods that extend for years and even decades. The "Reuniting Families Act" would make changes to the family preference system so that it is more efficient and U.S. citizens and legal immigrants can reunite with their families.

In addition to the introduction of the "Reuniting Families Act," the Senate Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security is holding a hearing today on the importance of ensuring that our borders are secure. NCLR commends the Subcommittee on this important hearing to spotlight the need for smart border enforcement that provides a reasonable deterrent against unlawful entry of individuals, drugs, and human traffickers without adversely affecting the lawful flow of goods and commerce.

NCLR lauds the important steps taken today to engage in the constructive dialogue needed to fix our immigration system. By proposing solutions to the problems in our family immigration system and examining smart border enforcement approaches, the Senate continues its progress toward achieving fair and effective comprehensive immigration reform that is good for the country.

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