Momentum for Immigration Reform Surges

For Immediate Release: Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 Contact: English media: Donna De La Cruz, (202) 339-9331 Spanish media: Ricardo Ramirez, (202) 905-1738

 Momentum for Immigration Reform Surges

Momentum for immigration reform is surging.  With the Senate announcing a bipartisan framework, the President unveiling his outline in a major address on Tuesday and grassroots group all over the country announcing major actions and events, the stage has been set for passing immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living and working in our communities.

While there is much work to be done, now more than ever it is important to remember what immigration reform is really about: families.  Families across the country are torn apart by our country’s current patchwork of failed and mismanaged immigration policies.  All over the nation, family members are coming forward to tell their stories of separation and fear.  The moral case for immigration reform is overwhelming and getting louder.

“Family defines this country. Family is what keeps us together. Our immigration policies must keep families together,” said Jennifer Martinez, a young mother of four from Wisconsin. Her husband of 16 years came to the United States from Mexico as a child. About a year ago, Jennifer got a call telling her that her husband was in custody and would be deported in three hours. Her six year old threw rocks at the bus as he was deported – without a hearing and having never committed a crime. “Our immigration system is not only broken it is morally bankrupt. Parents and grandparents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters are being torn apart. We need an immigration system that keeps families together.”

It’s no wonder that America’s elected leaders are literally racing each other to get in front of this issue.  More are coming forward every day to endorse some kind of path to citizenship for these families – after all 60% of Latino voters know someone who is undocumented.  This is a point that was hammered home in the 2012 election cycle.

We are particularly encouraged that it appears that some Senate Republicans have embraced the concept of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the principle announced today.  Many key details of the Senate plan remain to be developed or revealed.  We are concerned that trigger mechanisms that condition movement on a path to permanent residency on yet more enforcement in the proposed outline appear to be more tough than fair.  Immense investments in border security have already been made, and net new undocumented migration has dropped to essentially zero so there is no need for a trigger mechanism.  We are also disappointed by the exclusion of the Uniting American Families Act to ensure fair treatment of LGBT families from the bill.

We are looking forward to the detailed plan the President is expected to present tomorrow in Las Vegas. We welcome his leadership which will be essential to finally creating an immigration system which reflects our national values.

The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) is a network of community-based immigrant advocacy organizations in 30 states.