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Today, on a press call with reporters, national and local immigration leaders discussed upcoming plans to ramp up the pressure on the House GOP to turn their words into action on immigration reform.
With new positive comments from President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and news of Republican House Members working on more immigration bills, the immigration issue is once again at the top of the national agenda, and the broad and powerful movement in support of reform is ready to mobilize and escalate the pressure on the House to act.
This week, activists from Arizona gathered at the U.S. Capitol, holding a 6-hour prayer circle outside Speaker Boehner’s office and a vigil outside of the White House during President Obama’s immigration speech, reminding lawmakers what’s at stake for the immigrant community.
Said Reyna Montoya, member of the Arizona to DC delegation (AZ2DC):
We’ve had great success engaging other members of Congress, lifting them up in prayer, hoping that God will give them the strength to do right by the Arizona families that are suffering. When we got on that bus in Arizona we pledged to spend this whole week in prayer as a way to engage Speaker Boehner, so we are going to spend this whole week in prayer even if it means traveling to his home state to continue our vigil.
Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said:
What we’ve seen is an increased sense of urgency and unwavering commitment to telling both parties we are not going away. We are not just a legislative campaign, we’re a liberation movement. The status quo is causing deep anguish and comes with a high economic cost. It’s important that that social pain and economic cost be recognized more broadly. We are increasing in intensity, and we’re making it clear that there is a choice: a path to citizenship or else. We’re expecting a vote and we’ll do everything possible to achieve what the American public expects.
Greisa Martinez, Organizer with United We Dream, discussed escalation plans by her organization as well, saying:
United We Dream is committed to fighting for legislation that provides an accessible path to citizenship without more senseless border militarization or heartbreaking family separations. We will not let Congress or President Obama off the hook for their inaction. We’re ramping up our escalation in Texas, Arizona, Florida, Virginia, Arkansas, and New York to hold our politicians accountable and insist on fairness for our families.
The faith community is throwing down as well. As Rich Morales, Detention Prevention Coordinator at the PICO National Network, noted:
PICO’s faith communities are mobilizing and going to great lengths to demonstrate what’s at stake for the broader Latino and immigrant community. Over the next two months PICO’s Campaign for Citizenship continue to raise the pressure on House Republicans to sign onto and co-sponsor HR 15, which is common sense bi-partisan immigration reform with an earned pathway citizenship. As part of our efforts to lift up the moral crisis for our communities we will: focus civic engagement efforts with allies on 9 key congressional districts, launch a ‘Fast4Families’–an escalating fast taking place across the country that culminates with a multi-faith gathering in Washington, DC, and work with others in the movement to continue meeting with members of Congress.” He added, “For us, immigration is about our families, our lives. And by sacrificing one of the most basic human needs, we’re sending a very clear message to Congress and the Administration: nothing will deter us in the fight for justice.
Concluded Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
I’d like to remind House Republicans that you can’t be a little bit pregnant. For months we’ve been hearing promises of proposals like the KIDS Act and bills addressing the rest of the 11 million aspiring Americans. It’s time to put them out there and schedule the vote. Everyone knows that the votes exist in the House to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship today. The only questions are, where’s the bill and when is the vote?
Recording of Today’s Office Hours available here.