As we’ve written, there is a broad coalition of advocates and leaders from a number of different sectors—faith, law enforcement, labor, business, civil and human rights organizations—joining together to call for immigration reform, and the strength of the movement grows every day.
In addition, local activists from different states across the nation have in the last week been holding rallies and demonstrations, pushing for official declarations of support, and campaigning for pro-immigration state laws that contribute momentum to the overall immigration reform effort. This is just the beginning—momentum will continue to build as the immigration fight continues, because the American people want immigration reform with a path to citizenship. But for now, here’s a recap of what’s been happening at the state and local level on immigration reform in the last week:
- In Kentucky, more than 150 immigrant advocates and supporters rallied at the capitol on Wednesday to call for immigration reform, including passage of the state House Bill 396, which would allow undocumented immigrants to drive. According to the Courier-Journal, Katie Miller, program director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said the event was meant to highlight a broken immigration system that separates families and unjustly detains law-abiding immigrants.
- As we wrote earlier this week, 2,000 activists in Texas marched on their state capitol to demonstrate in favor of immigration reform. The advocates asked to meet with their Senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; Cornyn later told the El Paso Times that he stands “ready to tackle immigration reform that will secure the border and fix the broken system for those who wish to come here legally.”
- California turned several hundred people out in downtown San Jose last week to march in favor of immigration reform. This week, Santa Clara County (in which San Jose is located) discussed a memo, which all of its supervisors have signed, that analyzes local immigration policies. The supervisors plan to send the memo to California’s Congressional delegation for when the House and Senate take up immigration reform bills. Meanwhile, in San Diego, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to endorse the bipartisan plan for reform put forth by the Gang of 8 Senators in Washington.
- In New York, the City Council approved a plan to make it tougher for immigration officials to detain people being released from police custody. Immigration detainers allow federal immigration officials to take custody of immigrants after they’ve been released by local police; the new measure would allow police to occasionally ignore these detainer requests. Supporters say the change will stop the deportations of low-priority immigrants who pose no threat. Connecticut is considering something similar, after state Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield introducing such legislation this week.
- The Keeping Families Together bus tour launched this week from a number of different cities around the nation. The different buses will hit key congressional districts around the nation to call for immigration reform and lift up the stories of those who have been separated from their family members as a result of deportations, before making their way to Washington, DC.