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National Immigration Leaders Applaud Introduction of House Immigration Bill

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house demsThe following is a press release from this morning’s press conference supporting the introduction of an immigration reform bill in the House:

Leading up to National Day of Action with 160 Rallies around the Country, Groups Vow to Increase Pressure on Republicans to Get Reform to the Finish Line 

Leading advocates for immigration reform applauded Democrats in the House of Representatives for introducing a bill this week based on bipartisan policy to address our broken immigration system and offer undocumented Americans an earned path to citizenship at a press conference today. Cosponsors of the bill include Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Joe Garcia (D-FL), Jared Polis (D-CO), Joaquín Castro (D-TX), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), and Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV). Especially in the midst of a government shutdown, the introduction of a serious, comprehensive bill in the House is a great step forward on the road to reform, showing leadership from Democrats and building pressure on Republicans to take action in the weeks ahead.

Rep. Suzan DelBene said:

Immigration reform is critical to the people and economy of the 1st Congressional District, Washington state and our nation as a whole. In order to grow our economy and create jobs, we must take a comprehensive approach to immigration reform. We can’t settle for a piece-meal approach. Our system today has so many moving parts that if we just tweak policy in one narrow area, it will create unintended consequences in other areas. There is tremendous support for comprehensive immigration reform from the business community, farmers, faith leaders, law enforcement and the broader American public because of the positive impact it will have on our country and economy. I urge my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support this bill.

Rep. Jared Polis, said:

During a shutdown caused by partisan bickering, now more than ever we need to work together for common sense solutions to immigration. We can no longer afford to ignore Americans from across the political spectrum calling out for Congress to fix our broken immigration system – from the business community, to faith groups, to farm workers and high-tech companies. We need immigration laws and enforcement that work.  I am proud to sponsor this bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill with policies that enjoy support from both Democrats and Republicans. The time is now for Congress to pass an immigration reform bill that creates American jobs, ensures we are more competitive in an increasingly global economy, restores the rule of law, lowers the deficit and reflects our values as Americans.

Frank Sharry, America’s Voice, said:

This bill represents a serious opening offer.  We expect it will rally Democrats and pressure Republicans.  It also will lay bare the simple fact that right now – today – the votes exist in the House to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  Republicans can either meet Democrats at the negotiating table and share credit for passing reform, or shoulder the responsibility for blocking the best chance at real immigration reform in decades. The public supports it, the Democrats want it and the Republicans need it.  Our movement is getting stronger every day and we will continue to ratchet up the pressure until Republican leaders take action.

Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota, said:

Mi Familia Vota applauds House Democratic leaders for doing the right thing and continuing to move immigration reform forward by introducing this bill, even during these trying times for our country. While issues may continue to arise for our nation, the pro-immigrant rights movement is focused and will keep pressure on House Republicans to step forward to fix our broken immigration system. We need Democrats, Republicans to stop playing politics and work together for a real solution to help propel our economy and nation forward in the right direction.

Clarissa Martinez-De-Castro, NCLR director of immigration and civic engagement, said:

America backs immigration reform and it’s about time House leadership heeds that call.  This is a bipartisan issue with the bipartisan support in the House to get it done. Every day of inaction hurts our economy and tears at the fabric of our nation’s communities.  Worse, this pain in unnecessary—we have the ability to solve this problem and do it right.  It is time for the House to deliver the solution America needs, and one thing is clear:  America deserves a vote.

Eddie Carmona, PICO National Network, said:

We are thankful to the sponsors of this blended bi-partisan bill for doing their part to help push this debate across the finish line.  This is a legitimate vehicle for moving legislation through the House and increases the pressure on Speaker Boehner, and Congressmen Cantor and McCarthy, to allow a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Our families and faith communities have waited long enough for legislation that addresses their plight. Talk is nice, but action is what counts.  PICO Federations across the country will continue to hold Congress accountable until real reform that puts 11 million aspiring Americans on an inclusive pathway to citizenship becomes a reality.

Mehrdad Azemun, Center for Community Change, said:

Our movement has never been stronger, it has never been more engaged – the delays by the House leadership have only emboldened our communities.  Everyday immigrant communities are under siege by a broken immigration systems that tears families apart. The failure of the House GOP leadership is literally seen as a both a personal attack but also an attack on our identities – nothing can be motivating in politics than that.  We will not stop until we achieve a permanent solution that grants dignity and respect to all immigrant workers and families and that means a chance for 11 million aspiring Americans to earn citizenship. There is no dodging our families or our voters – after these rallies we are making plans to escalate even more.  Congress – our families are coming to your offices, to your supporters, to your voters, to your churches and we will not leave until you see the devastating impact your failure of leadership is having on real lives.

Deepa Iyer, Chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), said:

We are encouraged by the bipartisan effort in the House of Representatives to introduce immigration reform legislation. While the current House bill creates pathways for citizenship, clears family and employment backlogs and does not include the overreaching border enforcement provisions of the Senate immigration bill, we call upon House leaders to make substantial improvements to the bill during the amendment process. Specifically, we urge lawmakers to reconsider the restrictions on the family immigration system, address gaps in prohibiting profiling, and ensure that undocumented immigrants do not face burdensome obstacles in the path to citizenship. Asian American communities will continue to work with elected leaders and mobilize our base in order to ensure that the legislation, as it moves through the House, will meet the principles that we have set forth on immigration reform.

The bill introduced this week is based on policy that has been voted on by Republicans and Democrats in both chambers of Congress. If given a vote, it would pass the House of Representatives with more than 218 votes and fix our dysfunctional immigration system. Now our growing movement will call on Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans to either bring a vote on this bill or craft a bill that constructively deals with 11 million immigrants who call America home.

The introduction of the bill comes just ahead of the October 5 National Day for Dignity and Respect when Latino, immigrant, faith, labor, and civil rights groups will take part in over 160 rallies and marches across the country to tell Congress to quit playing politics with the lives of immigrant families. Additionally, immigrants and their supporters will rally in Washington, DC on October 8, bringing the message to lawmakers that the status quo is unacceptable and the immigration reform movement will not stop until an inclusive path to citizenship is achieved for all 11 million aspiring Americans.