A project of the Center for Community Change


Jose Antonio Vargas Gives Voice to Families in Immigration Reform Testimony

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013


English-language media: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org (202) 339-9331

Spanish-language media: Ricardo Ramirez, rramirez@communitychange.org (202) 905-1738

Jose Antonio Vargas Gives Voice to Families in Immigration Reform Testimony

Senate Must Take Action Now on a Bill With a Path to Citizenship 

(WASHINGTON)—Jose Antonio Vargas today provided a powerful voice to undocumented immigrant families in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. And Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she has never seen a better opportunity to pass a comprehensive immigration bill until now.

The Senate must seize this opportunity and take action on a bill with a path to citizenship. And they must remember Vargas’s testimony and the words of other undocumented immigrants, said Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of immigrant rights groups in 30 states.

Vargas asked the Senate Judiciary Committee members “What do you want to do with us?” before recounting how he was brought to America from the Philippines by his grandfather an American citizen. Vargas is the only member of his extended family who is undocumented.

“The Senate must not let political infighting and one-upmanship derail bipartisan legislation that is humane and compassionate and will allow the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country work to become full-fledged Americans,” said Matos, also the Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice for the Center for Community Change. The Center is a FIRM member.

“The House must also remember families as they craft legislation that must include a path to citizenship,” Matos added. “We will not support any legislation that does not provide undocumented immigrants a way to become full-fledged Americans.”



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Keeping Families Together in our Fight for Immigration Reform

This year has been a huge one for DREAMers who earlier this year were granted deferred action status. But the fight for DREAMers is not over. Although they now have the ability to stay in the U.S. without fear, their parents and other family members do not live with same sense of security.   Keeping families together is why immigration reform leaders are meeting in D.C.

Immigrant families have contributed to our economy and are an integral piece in the framework of our American society. A coalition of grassroots organizations and The Campaign for Community Change are organizing to launch the, Keeping Families Together campaign tour. The tour will stop in New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., among others. Family stories will be told at campaign rallies, vigils, community dinners, and will be recorded and shared with policymakers.

Our families want citizenship, which is a real solution that upholds our nation’s values, and moves us forward together.  Our current immigration system is badly broken. What people don’t understand is that there is literally no way for some undocumented immigrants to become legal, including people who were here as young children. And unscrupulous employers can prey on workers and pay low wages. A path to citizenship will give immigrants an opportunity to become legal, pay taxes, and participate fully in American society.

So DREAMers and their families will continue to work toward comprehensive immigration reform, and the Keeping Families Together summit will help us achieve it.

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GOP Fails First Leadership Test on Immigration

GOP Fails First Leadership Test on Immigration

Same Characters, Same Policies

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012
Contact: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org (202) 339-9331

(WASHINGTON)–The aftermath of the 2012 election brought widespread calls from within the conservative movement and the Republican party itself to finally address comprehensively and wisely our broken system of immigration with a path to citizenship, which is a central component of reform.

Unfortunately, the opening gambit by Republicans in Congress is disappointing a nation that desperately needs new rational and humane voices from the right on immigration reform.

This week, the House will vote on a “STEM” bill written by the notoriously anti-immigrant Lamar Smith (R-TX).  It eliminates a whole category of “diversity visas.”   Crafted without real Democratic input, the provision cynically allows some relatives of legal residents to enter the country sooner, but with fewer rights than current law.  Still others who can currently immigrate legally are cut out completely.   It would further break an already broken system.

In the Senate, Republican Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and Jon Kyl introduced the “Achieve Act.”  which is the DREAM Act without the dream.  It contains no path to citizenship for the hardworking young Dreamers who are American in every way but paperwork.

The immigrant community finds this an insulting start to the debate over a crucial American issue: how to end policies which separate families and create a path to citizenship for hard working immigrants and ensure they have the opportunity to become fully integrated into our communities.

A deep fissure has developed between the immigrant community and the Republican party.  That fissure was a central reason for the rebuke dealt to Mitt Romney in a historic election for turnout amongst our communities.

Our families continue to stand ready to meet with any and all of leaders so that they might fully understand the moral crisis of family separation and the overwhelming need to end that crisis by creating a path to citizenship for all hardworking immigrants.


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