Fair Immigration Reform Movement Statement:
Joy For Families, Challenge to Republicans, Reflection On How the Movement Got to This Historic Moment
(WASHINGTON)—Fair Immigration Reform Movement leaders provide reactions to President Obama’s administrative relief plan, from joy for families who can now stay together, a challenge to Republicans to act, and how the immigrant rights movement got to this historic moment. Here are remarks from: Astrid Silva, who introduced the President before he made his remarks in Las Vegas today; FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos; and Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change.
Astrid Silva, Immigration Organizer for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN). PLAN is a member of FIRM. President Obama spoke of Astrid when he announced his plan for administrative relief on Thursday: “When the president told my story, I looked at my dad, and then over to my mom, and I started crying with relief. President Obama’s bold action means that millions of families like mine will no longer live with the perpetual anxiety that they may not be together to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and holidays. The president’s administrative reforms are only a temporary fix and we desperately need Congress to pass comprehensive immigration legislation that will grant permanent security to the millions of immigrant families who love this country and want to become citizens.
But for now, we celebrate this historic victory. Thank you, Mr. President, for sharing my story. I hope it will help people realize that immigrant families are just like theirs – striving to make better lives for themselves, their parents and their children.”
Kica Matos, FIRM spokesperson on Speaker John Boehner’s remarks today that the House would act to counter the President’s action: “We dare you to try to repeal this historic reform. We welcome a national debate about keeping families together. Show us whether you are going to stand with families or in the dust bin of history.”
Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, a FIRM member, on how the immigrant rights movement got to this historic moment: “In the history of every social movement there are seminal moments that portend an eventual victory. If we can beat the intense backlash the President’s announcement is sure to unleash, this unquestionably will be written about in the history books as just such a moment for the immigrant rights movement. The administrative reforms to our broken immigration system just announced by President Obama are a hard-won victory for the hundreds of community organizations, thousands of activists and millions of people who have pressed for change through marches, phones calls, protests, civil disobedience, and electoral engagement for over 15 years. There is a “call and response” relationship between movements and elected leaders. The President has heard the call, and made history. The victory is partial and the long fight for true integration and full citizenship is far from over, but the movement has clearly created a paradigm-shifting turning point.”