Today, America’s Voice Education Fund and fellow immigration experts held the fifth in a series of weekly press briefings, or “Immigration Reform “Office Hours.” Each week, a different and diverse group of speakers will share the latest information on the players, politics, legislation and other developments coming down the pipeline as the debate in Congress moves forward.
Moderated by Frank Sharry, Executive Director at America’s Voice Education Fund, the call featured Eddie Carmona, Campaign Manager, PICO’s Campaign for Citizenship; Sue Chinn, Campaign Manager at the Alliance for Citizenship; Rabbi Mark S. Diamond, Regional Director of AJC Los Angeles; Tom Snyder, Campaign Manager for Immigration, AFL-CIO; and Raquel Terán, Arizona State Director for Mi Familia Vota Education Fund. Speakers discussed this week’s political happenings, and reported on events taking place in key congressional districts and states over the Easter recess to press for action on commonsense immigration reform.
Sue Chinn, Campaign Manager of the Alliance for Citizenship, explained:
As members of Congress head back home for Easter Recess, our movement is growing stronger and momentum for reform is growing stronger everyday. We want to be very clear: We have a movement that is ready to deliver immigration reform. The Time is NOW for immigration reform and we must put 11 million people on the path to citizenship, once and for all.
The Alliance for Citizenship described their efforts last week during the National Week of Calls to Congress. They generated over 582,000 contacts to members of Congress (calls, electronic communications and faxes) urging the passage of a comprehensive bill with a pathway to citizenship for 11 Million Americans in-waiting. During the upcoming recess, A4C and its partner organizations are planning more than 200 events (from rallies to vigils, legislative visits, and other media events) in 43 states around the country. In coordination with Americas Voice, Reform Immigration for America, Moveon.org, Credo, and local organizations, A4C will help gather petitions in 15 states and deliver them to key Senators. In Florida we have over 14,000 petitions gathered in just 1 week. The other states where petition deliveries will take place are: Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, New York and Illinois.
As members of Congress return to Washington on April 10, the Alliance for Citizenship will host a rally on the grounds of the Capitol, as well as over 30 echo events around the country.
As the legislative debate ramps up, the Alliance for Citizenship partners, PICO Network and others across our movement will continue to hold elected officials accountable and remind them that the American people support an immigration reform bill that will bring 11 million people out of the shadows.
Said Eddie Carmona, campaign manager for PICO’s Campaign for Citizenship:
Families across the country will be gathering next week for Passover and Holy Week celebrations. While we treasure these special family times, we also know they are bittersweet days for millions of mixed-status families who are separated from loved ones because of this country’s broken immigration system. The prayer at many tables these next few weeks will be that our elected leaders put their faith values into action and deliver a reform bill that keeps families together by assuring a swift and direct path to citizenship.
Rabbi Mark S. Diamond, Regional Director, AJC Los Angeles added:
Eleven million men, women and children live in the shadows of our great nation. Tell their stories at the Passover and Easter table as we work together for bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.
For more details on recess events for the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, please view their calendar.
Raquel Terán, Arizona State Director for Mi Familia Vota Education Fund explained:
As the debate in Washington heats up, Mi Familia Vota and our partners will intensify our efforts ensuring more Legal Permanent Residents are becoming citizens, eligible Latinos are registering to vote, and that Latino voters are holding our elected officials accountable.
Said Tom Snyder, Campaign Manager for Immigration, AFL-CIO:
At the AFL-CIO, we’ve pulled out all the stops and have prioritized immigration reform so that we can once and for all fix this broken system and provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million. Thus far we’ve held 14 kickoff events across the country with labor leaders and hundreds, even thousands, of immigrant workers in attendance. Looking ahead, AFL-CIO members have planned at last 100 recess visits, and we will be mounting a new grassroots campaign in key states across the country. So in effect, we’re very confident we’re going to get a bill we can support, and voters, especially immigrant voters, have spoken loud and clear on this one – and politicians have gotten the message. At last we can see light at the end of the tunnel and I think we’re going to get over the finish line this time with something we can firmly support.
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice Education Fund:
As we enter into Easter Recess next week, Members of Congress will be reminded of the broad support and increasing pressure to deliver immigration reform. Our allies and partners are prepared to hold actions across the country to ensure their voices are heard. We’re very optimistic that we can get a bill that will fix our immigration system once and for all. Democrats want it, the public supports it, Republicans need it, and our movement is ready to deliver it.
IMPORTANT EVENTS FROM THIS WEEK:
- Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: “How Comprehensive Immigration Reform Should Address the Needs of Women and Families”
- House Judiciary Committee Hearing: “Releasing Detained Illegal Immigrants”
- Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: ““Building an Immigration System Worthy of American Values”