A project of the Center for Community Change

What are immigrant communities saying about the cloture vote?

Congress has failed us. The failure to help the millions of Americans and immigrants suffering from our immigration system is morally irresponsible. The White House has worked to insert anti-immigrant rhetoric and political players into the immigration reform process, thereby derailing the possibility of a truly fair and humane immigration reform bill.

Grassroots groups, advocates and allies are not taking this lying down. We are still in the fight for the rights of all in our country and we will continue to demand that our senators and representatives fix our borken immigration system. Some anti-immigrant advocates may attempt to use this vote as an opporutnity to spread pessimism and dejection- but we, united and strong, are choosing hope. Hope for the millions of farmworkers fighitng for worker’s rights. Hope for the millions of students fighitng for educaiton rights. And hope for all of us in America, that we can live up to shared values of family and shared fate.

Below we’ve included several statements from grassroots groups around the country:

From the New York Immigration Coalition:

No Excuse for Inaction on Immigration Reform

Statement of Chung-Wha Hong, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition, in response to the Senate’s failure to move toward a final vote on an immigration bill:

Our message to the Senate:

While the Senate considers what to do after last night’s failed cloture vote, we want to emphasize that the immigration problem is not going away.  We will not allow the cloture vote to be used to justify inaction and the blame game.  Senate leaders in both parties are mistaken if they think they can simply wash their hands of fixing our dysfunctional immigration system, which is devastating the lives of millions of immigrants.

Our message to the House: 

We do not buy the logic that somehow the House will only take up immigration after the Senate.  House leaders should do what is right and not be limited by the bad choices and unjustified concessions made in the Senate.  The American people are looking to the House for a real alternative framework that is pro-family, pro-worker, and pro-America.

Our message to President Bush:

It’s not too late to unhitch yourself from the anti-immigrant extremist elements of your party.  Instead of being accommodated, they should be left in the margins where they belong.  Instead, forge a consensus among sensible Republicans and Democrats serious about reform.  Stop the hypocrisy of talking about reforms on the one hand and conducting destructive raids of innocent immigrants on the other.   

Our message to the American people:

The immigration reform debate is not just about immigrants.  It is more about the future of our nation.  It is necessary to have immigration reform for our nation to have economic prosperity and to preserve family values and respect for diversity. 

Our bottom lines:

Broad and simple legalization for all immigrants; future worker program with full rights and clear and expedited path to citizenship; family unity; and strong protections of due process and civil rights. 

The New York Immigration Coalition and its 200 member organizations will continue to press for a solution as part of a growing national call for comprehensive immigration reform.  The NYIC believes that immigration reform is a necessary part of realizing our national vision for a healthy and growing economy, diverse and vibrant communities, strong families, and dignity and respect for all.

From the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition:

CIRC Calls on Senate to Improve Flawed Immigration Bill and Pass Fair Reform Now!

Acknowledges Senator Salazar Leadership in Seeking Improvements

With the Senate’s failure to cut off debate on the flawed immigration reform bill, S. 1348, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) urges the Senate to now consider a workable and humane reform and keep the legislative process moving.  As the state-wide coalition of 80 immigrant rights and community organizations in Colorado, CIRC believes that true immigration reform must include the following elements:
simple and broad legalization for undocumented workers and families;
strong worker protections and a path to citizenship for future immigrant workers;
family reunification and continued preference for family based immigration;
preservation of due process and civil rights; and
fair treatment of students and agricultural workers as embodied in the DREAM Act and AgJobs legislation.
CIRC has been deeply troubled by the provisions of S. 1348 that would replace most family immigration categories with a point system based on education and job skills, and by other provisions that limit the ability of new workers to gain legal status.
CIRC acknowledges Sen. Salazar for his leadership in seeking improvements to the bill.  Senator Salazar supported efforts to make the legalization process and guest worker program more realistic and workable and to preserve family-based immigration.
The immigration issue is not going away.  Our nation’s immigration system is in urgent need of reform, and CIRC will continue to work for just, humane, workable solutions that will bring the undocumented out of the shadows, restore order to our immigration system, and uphold our values as a nation of immigrants.

From the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition:

Immigration Obstruction

Boston, MA – Last night members of the U.S. Senate failed to move forward a bipartisan immigration reform bill.  The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition:

“The Massachusetts immigrant and refugee community thanks Senator Kennedy for his relentless pursuit of justice and his heroic efforts to move a reform forward during incredibly painful negotiations.  We are encouraged by Senate leadership’s commitment to fighting for immigration reform in the weeks and months ahead.

“Over the past two weeks, a minority of Senators has managed to hijack bi-partisan negotiations and effectively ignore the wishes of the majority of Americans to fix our nation’s immigration system. 

“The pain of this action by obstructionist Senators will be felt by the millions of immigrants whose dreams will be put on hold, who will continue to live in fear and in the shadows.  It will be felt by the millions of Americans whose loved ones remain far away, and on migrants struggling and dying as a result of the continuing humanitarian crisis at our borders. The pain of this failure will be felt by all Americans who care about the opportunity to pursue the American Dream, protecting all workers and strengthening this nation of immigrants.

“Just 3 months ago, the community of New Bedford, Massachusetts, was the site of a humanitarian disaster caused by our failed immigration system.  The victims of this disaster still struggle to put food on their table, keep a roof over their head, and explain to their children why their father or mother has disappeared.  Because the Senate failed to act, this disaster-by-design will be replicated countless times in communities across the country.

“The tears of the next child whose parents have been disappeared by our federal government, the next mother whose family is stuck in the backlog of immigration applications, or the next father who has been detained for months without access to our court system all stain the hands of obstructionist Senators who failed America yesterday.

“While MIRA recognized the flaws in the Senate proposal and worked to improve it, we also urged the Senate to move the bill forward and keep the legislative process moving.  In this fashion we redouble our efforts to work for just, humane, workable solutions that will bring the undocumented out of the shadows, restore order to our immigration system, reflect our nation’s belief in liberty, opportunity, and hope, and uphold our values as a nation of immigrants.”

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