(WASHINGTON)–Today, the largest and most powerful coalition of immigrant rights activists and voters called the introduction of the Senate’s immigration bill a historic step toward humane policy reform. Here is a statement from Kica Matos, Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) Spokesperson:
“The introduction of a bill which includes a real path to citizenship is a monumental achievement for our movement. We are confident immigration reform that includes a clear and direct path to citizenship will pass this year.
This bill is a starting point and we look forward to working with Congress to improve upon it. We must expand the number of people eligible for the path to citizenship. The cutoff date for eligibility and other unfair and unwise restrictions will leave hundreds of thousands of families out of the process and create all the same moral and practical problems with which we began. The 13-year length of the citizenship path is unjust as well as unwarranted and should be substantially shortened. All immigrant families deserve a chance to become a full part of the American dream in a reasonable period time.
We oppose all triggers. Our families’ well-being should not be conditioned on arbitrary border measures or any political or bureaucratic process which holds their loved ones hostage to regulations over which they have no control.
We believe the bill, as it’s currently drafted, damages the family-based immigration system. We will fight to restore the American principle of family unity. We will not allow big corporations to dictate who deserves to come to this country. To make it a zero sum visa game between a scientist and a sister simply does not reflect the values of our country.
Our nation has a shameful history of discrimination and we cannot allow it to be perpetuated in our immigration policies. To that end, LGBT families must be included in this legislation.
The destruction of the diversity visa program shows how parts of the Republican Party continue to be dangerously out of touch with the power and needs of people of color in America. We will work hard with civil rights groups and others to reverse this significant step backward.
This past election cycle demonstrated our enormous and growing political power. We will harness that power – on the streets, online, through our massive phone banking programs, historic voter engagement and lobbying by immigrant families themselves – to improve this bill and move immigration reform forward now.
Our families face a fierce urgency. Every day we delay, 1,100 families are torn apart and impacted in fundamentally immoral and degrading ways because of our broken immigration system.
We will not take no for an answer. We will not relent until we pass a compassionate, comprehensive immigration bill that keeps families together. It’s who we are as Americans and immigrant families deserve nothing less. We look forward to working with elected officials on common sense solutions and we will hold those accountable who stand in the way of families’ dreams.”