The following is a press release from United Farm Workers and the Alliance for Citizenship:
Pro-Immigration Movement Marks One-Year Anniversary of First House Vote to Deport DREAMers with Rallies and Occupations of Key House Republican Offices Across the Country
Washington, DC – It’s been nearly a year since the US Senate passed the bipartisan immigration bill, and during that time, House Republicans have used nearly every excuse in the book as to why they can’t finish the job and pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship.
Today, two days before the anniversary of the first House vote to deport DREAMers, immigration advocates from across the country are reminding key House Republicans that it’s now or never for the GOP on immigration: either pass immigration reform before the legislative window closes or the President uses his executive authority and Republicans kiss the White House—and eventually Congress—goodbye for good. From coast to coast, immigrant families, activists and other allies are holding rallies and civil disobedience actions at over 28 House Republican district offices (see the full list of events here).
On a national press call today, advocates reported in live from actions in California, Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina to announce these rallies and office occupations and discuss what was happening on the ground.
“It’s been nearly a year since the US Senate passed the bipartisan immigration bill, and during that time, House Republicans have used nearly every excuse in the book as to why they can’t finish the job and pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship,” said Arturo Rodriguez, President of United Farm Workers, who dialed in live from outside House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) office in Bakersfield, CA. “We want Republican House leaders like McCarthy to know that immigration advocates have waited long enough for meaningful action to fix our broken immigration system, and we will not wait any longer. Republicans need to either pass immigration reform before the legislative window closes or continue blocking legislation and confirm our worst fears that House Republicans are dominated by hateful extremists who believe that new Americans such as those on this phone call and those people visiting Congressional offices around the country today are somehow less important as human beings. It’s up to them.”
Added Astrid Silva, Immigration Organizer for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, who dialed in as arrests were taking place inside Rep. Joe Heck’s (R-NV) office: “Since the Senate passed their bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, the only immigration votes the House has taken have been to undo DACA and deport DREAMers–three times. We have had enough of Congressional inaction. It’s time for Congressman Heck to put some actions behind his words and do everything in his power to hold on a vote on immigration reform. Well-choreographed meetings and stern letters won’t do much for the thousands of undocumented immigrants in Nevada who live in limbo waiting for Congress to act.”
Five activists were arrested at Heck’s office today after his staff called the local police.
In addition to today’s civil disobedience actions and rallies, the Alliance for Citizenship placed several website takeover ads in the local papers of several target Congress Members, including the Orlando Sentinel in Rep. Daniel Webster’s (R-FL) district; the Las Vegas Sun in Rep. Joe Heck’s (R-NV) district; and the Bakersfield Californian in Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) district.
Said Sergio Sanchez, President of Fuerza y Libertad, who’s dialed in from inside Rep. George Holding’s (R-NC) office in Raleigh, NC: “The message here is that we cannot wait for another day of inaction from Congress. We need something done on immigration reform today. Holding and his colleagues clearly don’t feel the urgency that our community is feeling. We can’t keep living and working in the shadows and not have the opportunity to prosper. On behalf the majority of Americans, Republicans need to do something today!”
Sanchez was joined by his mother who’s also risking arrest at Holding’s office today as well as his children who are building a Lego tower to call on Republicans to stop “blocking” and “playing around” with immigration reform.
Added Franco Gutierrez, a DACAmented DREAMer from Colorado who joined the call from inside Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) office, “Before becoming a DREAMer my life was difficult. Congressman Gardner voted against me, my friends and family. We ask that you call speaker Boehner to vote on immigration now.”
Follow today’s events on twitter via the hashtag #OccupyCIR and #TimeIsNow. Also, see our Storify of today’s action here.