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Immigration Groups Target Nine Republicans with Huge Voter Outreach Program to Push for House Vote on Citizenship

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The Cost of Inaction campaign is a coalitional effort undertaken by the AFL-CIO, America’s Voice, Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), Mi Familia Vota, PICO Action Fund, and SEIU in nine Congressional districts. 

Setting the Stage for 2014, “The Cost of Inaction” Campaign Will Directly Engage Thousands of Voters in Key Districts to Push for Vote on Citizenship by Year End

Today, a group of immigration advocates, faith and labor groups announced a new campaign that will focus on nine GOP members of Congress who are critical to moving immigration reform this year. In each district, groups will make contact with thousands of voters to highlight each Member’s position on immigration and whether they have taken action to ensure immigration reform with a path to citizenship gets a vote this year.

The effort, branded “The Cost of Inaction,” will increase pressure on Reps. Jeff Denham (R-CA 10th),  David Valadao (R-CA 21st), Buck McKeon (R-CA 25th), Gary Miller (R-CA 31st), Scott Tipton (R-CO 3rd), Mike Coffman (R-CO 6th), Dan Webster (R-FL 10th), Steve Pearce (R-NM 2nd), and Joe Heck (R-NV 3rd) to either show leadership in passing immigration reform with citizenship this fall or face the political consequences of blocking one of the best chances for real reform in decades. See below for conversations with voters happening in each district and a list of local launch events.

“My family was torn apart by deportation on August 28, 2007. On that day, ICE officers raided my home at 5AM, and took my father away. I watched everything unfold through my bedroom window. I was fourteen. We cannot and will not continue to accept this situation,” said Martha Rosales, a DREAMer and leader with PICO United Florida. “On behalf of those children that have had a parent or parents deported and those who live in fear, I ask Representative Webster and other Republican House members to take action, by cosponsoring and passing H.R. 15, a comprehensive commonsense immigration reform with a path that leads to citizenship.  I ask them to do what is right and put an end to the destruction of our families and communities through deportations.

“The immigration reform movement has demonstrated that the momentum and power is on our side.  The American people support us, and our faith communities and families will not rest until we achieve reform with an earned path to citizenship. The Cost of Inaction program is precisely how we will remind our elected officials that we will stop at nothing until reform and relief for our families is achieved,” said Eddie Carmona, Campaign Manager for Campaign for Citizenship/PICO Action Fund. “Over the course of the next two months, we plan to show them that immigrant voters in their districts will reward them for calling a vote for our families or punish them for standing on the wrong side of history. Their leadership this year will determine how we proceed. Failure to act now is not an option; if the House GOP chooses not to act they will feel the pain of our families at the ballot box in 2014.”

“It’s time to stop talking the talk and time to start walking the walk for the House GOP,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “We’ve mobilized before, but this time it’s different. The GOP has to move forward on immigration reform in Congress this year, or we’ll move forward on voter mobilization efforts to elect a new Congress next year.”

The Republican Party may control the immediate fate of immigration reform, but Latinos and other immigrants control the long-term fate of the Republican Party,” said Tom Snyder, Immigration Campaign Manager, AFL-CIO.

“We will not stop fighting until there is a vote on a bill in the House of Representatives that provides 11 million aspiring Americans with a pathway to citizenship. Nothing less is acceptable and we will make sure that House Republicans understand the cost of inaction at the ballot box in 2014,” said Rocio Saenz, SEIU Executive Vice President.

“The time is now! Families and their livelihood are at stake. Through bipartisan leadership, we can solve our nation’s immigration system problem. The Republican Party controls the immediate future of immigration reform. But Latino voters control the long-term fate and future of the Republican Party,” said Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA in Action, a member of Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM).

Ben Monterroso, Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota, added:

To these members, we deliver this message: At the end of the current legislative session, it won’t matter what you said about supporting commonsense immigration reform if there was no follow up; if there was no vote on in the House. We want you to take this on as a mission — not just a job — to borrow a phrase from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Because if you treat it only as a job, you run the big risk of voters deciding that you didn’t do your job, and tell you next November, ‘You’re fired.’

The conversations with voters in each district will be supplemented by advertising buys by the AFL-CIO and SEIU respectively. The AFL-CIO ads announced yesterday are hard hitting television ads that call out Republicans for obstructing comprehensive immigration reform, citing anti-immigrant statements by Republican lawmakers. SEIU announced their buy today, which calls on Members of Congress, including three of the targets of The Cost of Inaction, to stop talking and start acting on commonsense immigration reform.

While some supportive Republicans, like Reps. Denham and Valadao, have begun to take very important steps towards making reform a reality by cosponsoring legislation, others continue to offer only lip service. The one litmus test that will determine if these members and the Republican Party can show true leadership for immigrant families and the communities who support them is a vote on citizenship this year. If no vote is scheduled, the “Cost of Inaction” campaign will be a down payment on a much larger and more expansive voter contact effort in 2014.