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Rise Up May 1st Event Organizers to Congress: Not One Dollar for Trump’s Deportation Machine!

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 27, 2017

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

 Rise Up May 1st Event Organizers to Congress: Not One Dollar for Trump’s Deportation Machine!

 (WASHINGTON)–In response to ongoing negotiations on the federal budget, Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), released the following statement:

“On Monday, May 1st, in 200 events (and still growing) across the United States, hundreds of thousands of immigrant Americans and their supporters will loudly make their voices heard.”

“The immigrant rights movement, standing arm-in-arm with our allies in the faith community, the environmental movement, labor unions, business community and women’s groups will send a strong message: We will not stand for one dollar being allocated to Donald Trump’s hateful immigration policies.  We will not tolerate his continuing efforts to criminalize immigrants and separate families. Any support whatsoever for his deportation machinery is unacceptable to all Americans of good will.”

“This is our line in the sand for champions, allies and foes alike: no support of any kind for Donald Trump and his white nationalist agenda is acceptable. The movement and our allies are watching, and we expect that our champions and supporters will fight hard and smart on behalf of our immigrant families”

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The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) is the nations largest immigrant-rights coalition, with grassroots organizations fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state and federal level. For more information, go to www.fairimmigration.org or follow us on Twitter @Re4mImmigration.

 

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More Family Voices Needed in Immigration Hearings

The Senate Judiciary Committee has held three hearings so far on the Gang of 8’s proposed immigration reform bill. So far, there has been only one undocumented immigrant who has been invited to testify.

On Monday, Gaby Pacheco told her story of immigrating to the United States from Ecuador at the age of eight.  In her testimony, she talked about her mixed status family and their struggles under our current immigration system.  She also spoke about her work as an immigrant rights activist, including her participation in the Trail of Dreams, a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to Washington, D.C. that she and three other activists embarked on in 2010 to shed light on the plight of undocumented immigrants everywhere.

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Instead of using tactics to delay and derail this important piece of legislation, lawmakers in Washington should hear more stories from people like Pacheco.  Each day that this bill has not become a law, 1,100 people are deported, and 1,100 families are destroyed in the process.

“These people are mothers, fathers, children, and neighbors,” Pacheco said.   “Their dreams are held in the hands of this committee and the rest of Congress. Their dreams now lie in the Senate bipartisan bill, S.744.”

The media should focus on testimony like Gaby’s because she illustrated the problems of our current broken immigration system. Instead, they focus on comments from lawmakers who try to derail the conversation.

Fortunately, the voices of the naysayers have been somewhat quieted by members of their own party. Even Republican Rep. Paul Ryan has said immigration reform is needed now.

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The Immigration Bill: An Historic First Step

The 844-page immigration reform bill released early this morning is a victory on many fronts.  Spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) Kica Matos called it a “monumental achievement for our movement.”

To learn more about the specific provisions of the bill from Gang of 8 member Sen. Robert Menendez and to ask questions, join a community call tonight at 8pm ET.  Text LISTEN to 228466, and you will automatically receive a call this evening that will dial you in to this important national conversation. If you want to listen in Spanish, text ESCUCHA to 228466. The Spanish call will be held at 9pm ET.

The bill will provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of the undocumented immigrants living in the United States today and serves as an historic first step toward a more just immigration system.  But the bill is just that—a first step.  FIRM and its partner organizations will continue to work with Congress to make improvements on some of the weaker aspects of the bill.

The cutoff date, for instance, automatically prevents hundreds of thousands of families from becoming eligible for citizenship.  In addition, the 13-year path to citizenship is an unreasonable length of time and should be shortened considerably.

In a statement, Matos explains that FIRM also opposes all so-called “triggers,” saying, “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.”

The current draft of the bill also fails to include important provisions about family unity, LGBT families, and the diversity visa program.  Immigrant-rights organizations around the country will continue to put pressure on Congress until these measures are made a priority.

Petra Falcon, Executive Director of immigrant-rights group Promise Arizona, said in a statement, “We’re not happy with everything in the bill, but we’re glad Congress is paving a path to citizenship for the undocumented, and we plan to continue to work diligently in the coming weeks to guarantee the final bill unites immigrant families and respects their enormous contributions to our society.”

The Florida Immigrant Coalition, Arizona Comprehensive Immigration Reform Coalition and the Alabama Immigration Advocates are among the groups that have already held press conferences in response to the newly-released bill, in which they reacted to the draft and outlined their next steps.

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