Immigrant Families Launch Bus Tour to Tell Stories of Broken System

Immigrant Families Launch Bus Tour to Tell Stories of Broken System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, February 25, 2013 Contact: For English-Speaking Media: Donna De La Cruz,, 202-339-9331, 202-441-3798 (cell)

For Spanish-Speaking Media: Ricardo Ramirez, (202) 905-1738

More than 500 families will visit 19 states and 100 congressional districts to call for a path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring citizens

CHICAGO – Families torn apart by the immigration system and immigrant rights activists gathered in Chicago today to launch the Keeping Families Together Story Tour. The tour will elevate the voices of families that have been splintered because of our patchwork of failed immigration policies.

Over the next three weeks, more than 500 family members will join the tour and travel more than 20,000 miles to demand immigration reform. The

Keeping Families Together Story Tour was launched by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of the largest grassroots immigrant rights organizations. FIRM has issued a March 21st deadline to the Senate to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill that contains a path to citizenship.

“For the 25 days from February 25th to the March 21st deadline, Senators will hear stories of separated spouses doing their best to raise their families, children left in foster care because their parents were deported, families who don’t know when they will be reunited again,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “Senators need to hear the voices of people, not just politicians, when they are crafting this extremely important bill.”

The stories will be highlighted daily, starting February 25th, on the Keeping Families Together storytelling website and the FIRM Facebook page.

As the buses wind through every region of the country, families will tell their stories that illustrate the urgent need for reform. In Chicago, Jennifer Martinez, a young mother from Manitowoc, WI, talked about her husband’s deportation to Mexico last year.  Martinez is now working two jobs to support her four young children.

“It breaks my heart to see my kids pray every night for their father to come home,” said Martinez. "I hope that President Obama is successful in his goal of providing a path to citizenship - but I also have learned that it's hard to have faith in the same people and policies that broke my family. This tour is an opportunity to share our stories with both elected officials and our own community."

Artists and poets will join the tour as well, including astronaut Jose Hernandez and singer-songwriter Ricardo Arjona.

The tour will travel through seven regions: Southwest (California, Arizona, Nevada), Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana), Mountain West (Colorado), Great Lakes (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio), New England (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island), Mid Atlantic (New York) and the Southeast (Florida, North Carolina).

Families who cannot travel with the bus can participate in a virtual bus tour by sharing their stories at or