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Thousands To Participate in Vigil With Members of Congress For Immigration Reform


Families, Clergy, Veterans, and Immigrants Gather in Washington, DC as Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Progressive Allies Unveil Principles for Reform Legislation


Events in Cities and Towns across U.S. to Underscore Urgent Need for Reform:


WHAT:            Reform Immigration FOR Families: Family Unity Cannot Wait will bring together families, clergy, veterans, and immigrants who are adversely affected by our nation's broken immigration system.  The event will include a procession of prayers and a vigil with 2,500 people on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Oct 13.


Delegations from AZ, FL, GA, IL, MA, MI, MN, NY, NJ, OH, PA, RI and TX, -- over 750 people total - will board buses this weekend, and travel to Washington DC to be joined by families from TX, WA, CA, DC, VA, and MD. They will be meeting with Congressional offices and available to speak with the press throughout the day.  Many of these individuals (including veterans) and their families are fighting deportation, facing family separation, or otherwise struggling with our broken immigration system and they will speak at the event that closes the Reform Immigration FOR Families: Family Unity Cannot Wait event.


Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) will be joined by key allies in the House and Senate as he unveils the principles that outline the comprehensive immigration reform bill he is working on and will introduce later this fall.  Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus Chair Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Homeland Security Committee Member Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) and other pro-immigrant allies will address the gathered crowd.  Many of the participating families, veterans, and clergy took part in the Families United/Familias Unidas series of interfaith vigils held around the country with Members of Congress earlier this year.


WHERE/WHEN:          3:00 pm                       Vigil Begins - West Lawn, U.S. Capitol

3:30 pm                       MAIN PROGRAM: Families, Clergy, and Members of Congress Speak

4:15 - 6:00 pm            Vigil and Program Continue with Families and Clergy


MAIN PROGRAM SPEAKERS (3:30-4:15 pm - West Lawn, U.S. Capitol):


The Honorable Robert Menendez, U.S. Senate (D-NJ)

The Honorable Nydia Velazquez, U.S. Congress (D-NY)

The Honorable Luis V. Gutierrez, U.S. Congress (D-IL)

The Honorable Mike Honda, U.S. Congress (D-CA)

The Honorable Yvette Clarke, U.S. Congress (D-NY)

Most Reverend Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Bishop of the Phoenix Episcopal Area, Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church

Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA of Maryland, Inc.

Ali Noorani, Executive Director, National Immigration Forum

Clergy, U.S. military veterans, and families from Florida, Illinois, New York, Tennessee, and elsewhere will share their stories


FAMILY SPEAKERS (not a complete list)


Rubiela Arias is undocumented, lives in New York City and was among the "first responders" on 9/11/2001 and has no way to legalize her immigration status.

Robert Cote is a veteran of the 1st Gulf War, a U.S. Citizen with 2 children, whose wife is now wears an ankle bracelet pending resolution of her immigration case after she was asked her immigration status by local police when they were called to break up a domestic dispute involving her sister and her sister's abusive boyfriend.

Peter Derezinski is a 17 year-old U.S. citizen whose father was deported back to Poland after 25 years of living and working in Chicago

Hotaru Ferschke (joined by mother-in-law Robin Ferschke and son Mikey) was born in Japan and married U.S. Marine Michael Ferschke who was killed in Iraq one month before the arrival their son Mikey. She is not allowed to stay in the U.S. because of a technicality: their marriage was not "consummated" in the eyes of the U.S. immigration law after their ceremony.


PURPOSE:     Last month, Rep. Gutierrez told a group of new citizens and supporters of comprehensive immigration reform that he would introduce a bill to fix our broken immigration system this fall.  On October 13, at the Reform Immigration FOR Families: Family Unity Cannot Wait event he will announce the principles that outline the bill he will introduce.


There is significant buzz in immigrant communities around this event that signals a new beginning to the legislative battle for comprehensive immigration reform in the 111th Congress.  The President and leaders in the House and Senate have indicated that immigration reform will be debated late this year or early next and this event - and the forthcoming bill from progressive House Members - signals the effort is serious.




Events leading up to and in conjunction with the Washington gathering are taking  place across the country: Saturday, Oct. 10 through Tuesday, Oct. 13  For information on events in AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, ME, MI, MN, NC, NV, NY, OH, PA, TX, WA, and WI, visit  or contact Shu Ohno at or call (202) 309-5645.


To meet up with state delegations please contact: Douglas Rivlin at (202) 441-0680 OR Shu Ohno at (202) 309-5645


For more information on the Reform Immigration FOR America Campaign, please visit or


# # #

Reform Immigration FOR America is a united national effort that brings together individuals and grassroots organizations with the mission to build support for workable comprehensive immigration reform.  The campaign connects people from communities across the country who are ready to work together toward achieving the 279 votes needed to win just and humane comprehensive immigration reform legislation: 218 votes in the House of Representatives, 60 votes in the Senate, and one signature from the President. 


immigration, reform, vigil, congress, luis gutierrez, progressive allies,

STORY TAGS: immigration, reform, vigil, congress, luis gutierrez, progressive allies,


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