The following is a press release from the Alliance 4 Citizenship:
Reform activists from 40 cities and towns descend in Bakersfield after leading largest statewide caravan ever
Today, 1,900 immigrants, Latinos, Asians, and immigration reform supporters paid a visit to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office, the third-ranking Republican member of the House of Representatives, to deliver one message: “Give us a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship by September 30, 2013.”
“The Path to Citizenship Goes through Bakersfield” caravan tour is one of hundreds of events across the country during this Immigration Reform Summer, where immigration rights groups and supporters are raising the stakes and calling on the House Republican leadership to bring a vote on citizenship to the House floor when they return to Washington DC in September.
The large car and bus caravan highlights the urgency for immigration reform in the immigrant, Latino, and Asian communities who have marched, mobilized, and voted in support of an overhaul for years. During the five-week August recess, more than 44,000 immigrants have been deported with families torn apart, due to our country’s broken immigration system.
If House leaders scheduled a vote on reform with a path to citizenship right now, a bipartisan majority of members in the House would vote for it. There exists a bipartisan majority in the House who support legalization with a path to citizenship, just as there is a bipartisan majority of Americans who want our elected officials to act now. It’s up to House Republican leaders – Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Majority Whip McCarthy – to give us our vote.
More than 30 local and state organizations throughout California organized today’s caravan and rally. The support for reform comes from all corners of the state and across the political spectrum. Our movement is comprised of immigrants, ethnic, faith, unions, LGBT, students, business, community, progressive, and conservative groups. We will not stop until immigration reform is enacted.
Below are notable statements from speakers at today’s rally:
The tide has turned and a swelling of support for an immigration fix that includes a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented workers who live here is evident everywhere. More deportations, increased militarization of the border, dangerous ICE-police collaboration, and a ballooning budget for more enforcement mechanisms and no way out of the shadows for undocumented families, is not acceptable any more to the majority of Americans, regardless of party affiliation. The Senate has already taken a crack at fixing our broken and unfair immigration system by passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Now it’s up to leaders in the House of Representatives such as Reps. Boehner, McCarthy, Pelosi, and Becerra to stand above the political fray and move forward with a vote on immigration reform with a direct, fair, and accessible path to citizenship by September 30. Until the House does what it needs to do, our community and the nation will be stepping up our game, show up wherever these Representatives go. This summer will be unlike any other for them and for us.
– Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) Executive Director and the CHIRLA Action Fund Board Chair
We’re here to tell Congressman McCarthy that the time is now to reform our broken immigration system and provide a path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans. As a leader within the House Republican leadership, Congressman McCarthy has a responsibility to encourage his colleagues to move forward on commonsense immigration reform. He was elected to lead and fix problems that impact his constituents, not to avoid or perpetuate them. We expect more and we hope he responds. But until he does, we will continue to remind him of his obligations.
– Eliseo Medina, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer
Every day, we speak with our community members who are desperately waiting for immigration reform. People are fed up with the lack of action by the House of Representatives. This is why the AAPI community has joined this Bakersfield Caravan. We are here to send a clear message to House Whip Kevin McCarthy that people are demanding that Congress take immediate action on immigration reform with a path to citizenship, and the people are going to hold their Congressmembers and House Leadership responsible.
– Hee Joo Yoon, Korean Resource Center Executive Director
Americans agree that our nation needs to move forward with a new immigration process that allows hard-working immigrants to come out of the shadows and have the opportunity to apply for citizenship. We will not take a ‘no’ or a ‘later’ for an answer. We have been working for more than a decade developing a sound immigration plan that works for all Americans. We have achieved bipartisan support and a majority of Congress members support earned citizenship for new immigrants. Farm workers who through rain or shine harvest the fruits and vegetables that feed our nation shouldn’t have to wait one more day. We demand that Congress acts now and votes on immigration reform legislation that includes a path to citizenship and begins the process of unifying our families and communities.
– Arturo S. Rodriguez, United Farm Workers President
The American people want fair immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship,” said Martha Arevalo CARECEN Executive Director. “The time is now to reunite families who have been separated; the time is now to allow immigrants to come out of the shadows and continue to contribute to America’s future; and the TIME IS NOW for members of the House to vote on a real solution to a broken system. The Caravan for Citizenship illustrates the vast diversity of people who support this effort. We are united, determined and we won’t take no for an answer.
– Martha Arevalo, Central American Resource Center Executive Director
California has a representative in the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives and we call on him to demonstrate leadership that reflects California’s values. An inspiring array of men and women and children, housekeepers and electricians, school employees and grocery workers, from one end of the state to the other will drive hundreds of miles to call on Congressman Kevin McCarthy to do the right thing for California and for our nation. California expects nothing less than a reliable, inclusive roadmap to citizenship in 2013.
– Maria Elena Durazo, National AFL-CIO Immigration Reform Committee Chair
Our broken immigration system tears families apart, crushes the dreams of young people and creates an underground economy that hurts all workers. A strong majority of Americans agree now is the time for immigration reform but some in Washington, DC just haven’t gotten the message. That’s why all summer we will be uniting to make our voices heard – in Congress and in the streets – until we finally have real immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
– Mike Garcia, SEIU USWW President
As voters we expect our Congress members to represent us responsibly. This includes tackling the most difficult challenges facing our nation, like reforming our immigration laws. We are mobilizing this month to ensure Congressman Kevin McCarthy and other House leaders understand the urgency of common sense immigration reform. The American people support reform with a path to citizenship. The Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill and now it’s the House’s turn. We have the support of a majority of House members for a path to citizenship. All we need is the continued leadership of those in support and for those that know that this is the right thing for our country, our economy, and our community to speak up!
– Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota Executive Director
Watch videos of the event: