Immigrant Rights Groups Won’t Settle For Anything Less Than a Path to Citizenship

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 Contact: English language media: Donna De La Cruz, (202) 441-3798 Spanish language media: Ricardo Ramirez, (202) 905-1738


Immigrant Rights Groups Won’t Settle For Anything Less Than a Path to Citizenship

Fair Immigration Reform Movement Praises President Nearly 40 FIRM Family Members Attend Obama’s Speech

(WASHINGTON)—The nation’s largest grassroots immigrant rights organization today said it won’t settle for anything less than a clear and reasonable path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.

Members of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) applauded President Obama for making immigration reform his top priority and are encouraged by the bipartisan plan issued by a group of Senators, while stressing the importance of lawmakers focusing on keeping families together.

“FIRM is adamant that all immigration bills that come before Congress must include a path to citizenship, and keeping all families together,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos, also the Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice for the Center for Community Change, which is a member of FIRM. “Our current patchwork of failed and mismanaged immigration policies is tearing families apart every day. Today, the President put that reality and some of the solutions creating a more just and humane immigration system front and center.”

“A roadmap to citizenship must be fair and without insurmountable barriers so that it will not take decades for immigrants to become full-fledged Americans,” Matos added. “Latinos and immigrants spoke loud and clear during the 2012 elections and we will continue to harness our political power to get an immigration bill passed that includes citizenship and measures that keep families together in this country.”

FIRM has launched a campaign called “Keeping Families Together” to give a voice to undocumented people living in our country. The men, women and children who have had their families torn apart by our nation’s broken immigration are speaking out about the need for reform that includes a path to citizenship.

Present today at Obama’s speech was Zuleyma Barajas, a Deferred Action recipient. Zuleyma and her sister were brought to America by their parents from Mexico. Last June, the President took a moral stand to protect young undocumented immigrants eligible for the DREAM Act from deportation.

“This is my country, I’ve been here since I was a child,” Zuleyma said. “My sister and I are grateful for our Deferred Action status, but I want my parents to have the same opportunity to remain in America and continue to work toward our citizenship.”

Zuleyma worked with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) last year helping the group inform registered voters to go to the polls. She hopes to be able to vote in the next election cycle.

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