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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Mothers and Grandmothers in Deportation Show Urgent Need for Legislative and Administrative Reform

As House Republicans continue to offer weak excuses for their failure to lead on immigration reform, the costs and consequences of their inaction are on full display and the calls for President Obama to use his executive authority to roll back deportations become louder and stronger.

On these week’s Office Hours call, immigration advocates and family members of mothers and grandmothers in deportation proceedings talked about the need for legislative and administrative reform.

Said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

Not everyone knows what it’s like to lose a mother to deportation, but everyone knows what it’s like to miss a mother.  We hope House Republicans and President Obama take that to heart this Sunday when millions of American families are missing someone important—a mother, a father, a son, or a daughter.  As the legislative window closes, the administrative window is opens.  And we’re going to continue pressuring both Congress and the President until families don’t have to worry about one thing—deportation—when they gather to celebrate.

Tania Valenzuela, oldest daughter of Imelda Valenzuela, a mother of three in Colorado who is facing deportation, is set to be featured prominently in a new Denver Post ad this Sunday, calling on Reps. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) to stop stalling reform and urging President Obama to take action should House Republicans fail.

On today’s call she said:

We have been fighting my mother’s deportation since 2009, it has been a long, stressful, tiring fight but we are hopeful. We are just one of the families that need immigration reform to pass in order to continue surviving and sustaining our family in this our new home country. Colorado House Republicans need to stop blocking immigration reform and Obama needs to end the separation of families. This Mother’s Day I want to celebrate without a heavy heart, I want to know that the single most important person in my life will be by my side for many celebrations to come.

Valenzuela was also joined by Lesvi Molina, daughter of Juana Luz Tobar Ortega, a mother and grandmother from North Carolina who is currently in deportation proceedings.  Said Molina:

I think everyone deserves a chance to be with their family…to be together.  I know that a law was broken but we’re all human and we need to understand that everyone deserves a second chance.  My mother has never committed a crime, she has always obeyed the law, she’s paid her taxes.  To me, it’s not fair to do something like this to a person that has done good in this country.  I just want to ask everyone to support us and to fight with us and to understand that this is something really hard for our family.  It’s not easy– there’s a lot of frustration not knowing if your mother is going to be taken, not knowing if you’re going to come home and you’re not going to see her there anymore.

The next 49 days will be crucial in determining the fate of immigration reform in 2014.  We know that a big policy change is coming, the only question is whether it’s legislative or administrative and whether it’s a bipartisan or Democratic-only victory.

Said Richard Morales, Deportation Prevention Coordinator for PICO National Network’s Campaign for Citizenship:

Achieving reform goes right to the core of our values as a nation and moral commitment to family as the core of our society. To truly celebrate mothers we need to be committed to keeping them with their children, committed to keeping their husbands and the fathers of their children, with their families. Every day our current, broken immigration system tears hard-working, family-oriented, aspiring Americans away from their communities and congregations and that is unacceptable.  Our movement continues to push for a breakthrough on solving this issue, and we will spend the summer educating voters about the status of immigration reform legislation. Furthermore, we are asking the Obama administration to expand deferred action for all undocumented immigrants who would qualify for citizenship under the comprehensive, bipartisan, Senate bill. Keeping deserving families together would be the ultimate Mother’s Day gift.

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.

Listen to a recording from today’s call HERE.

315 Days Since Senate Passed its Immigration Bill; 49 Days Left Until Window of Opportunity Closes