In advance of the official release of a bipartisan set of principles on immigration reform from a group of Senators, leaders of civil rights, labor, and immigration groups gathered together in Washington today to call on President Obama and Congress to enact immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship this year. Their press conference also precedes a speech President Obama is scheduled to give tomorrow in Las Vegas outlining his plan for immigration reform legislation.
Over and over again, the event’s participants emphasized that immigration reform must come this year, and that it must come with a roadmap to citizenship. As Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union said:
We will march, rally, and knock on every door in Congress to remind lawmakers that we deserve a better immigration system. And by the way, we don’t want a piecemeal approach. We want immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
Joining Mary Kay Henry were Ben Jealous, President and CEO of NAACP; Mee Moua, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center; Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK; Hector J. Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU; and Veronica Saravia, an 18-year-old Casa de Maryland youth leader. The groups emphasized their commitment to the immigration issue despite their disparate interests and backgrounds.
As Ben Jealous of the NAACP said, “The people of this country are ready for us to be one country again, without any second-class citizens.”
And, they highlighted an April 10, 2013 rally when immigration reform supporters, activists, and advocates will be mobilizing in the Capitol to make it clear that lawmakers must pass immigration reform as soon as possible.