The following is a press release from the Campaign for Citizenship of PICO National Network:
Leading Up to National Day of Action, Groups Detail the Human Cost of Inaction by Congress and Call on the House to Enact Real Reform that Keeps Families Together and Ends Senseless Deportations
Today, leading immigrant advocacy groups urged the House of Representatives to quit playing politics with the lives of immigrant families and invited immigrants and their allies to join in the October 5 National Day for Dignity and Respect. Featuring Congressman Luis Gutiérrez, speakers denounced enforcement-only policies, like the so-called “SAFE Act” (or the “SAFE to Discriminate Act”), and further call on Congress to pass real immigration reform that puts undocumented Americans on a path to earned citizenship.
Richard Morales, Detention Prevention Coordinator for the Campaign for Citizenship of PICO National Network, said:
The status quo is unacceptable and we won’t stop until an inclusive path to citizenship is achievable for all the 11 million undocumented. Every day the House delays a vote on reform with a path to citizenship 1,100 people are deported, including the mothers and fathers of American citizen children. On a daily basis I work with undocumented immigrants who are facing the needless crisis of deportation. This is a crisis for them and their families and for their communities where they are productive and valued members of our society. For the PICO National Network immigration reform with a path to citizenship is not about politics, but about our families. It is not about the next elections but about our future as a nation.
Fr. Rene Canales, Vicar Hispanic Outreach Diocese of Camden, Saint Claire of Assisi Parish and representative of the PICO National Network, said:
I see the terrible impact our broken immigration system has on the wellbeing of my community every day. As a former undocumented immigrant and a Catholic priest, I believe this is a personal matter about family issues. Members of my congregation and I are committed to immigration reform and will do all we can for our immigrant family until we have won citizenship for the 11 million undocumented Americans.
Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) said:
The rallies and events show the pressure building on Republican to do something to address immigration reform. The country is ready, the immigrants are ready, the Democrats are ready, the Senate has acted, now House Republicans need to step up and join the rest of us in moving forward to fix our immigration system. Every day that passes means thousands of families are split up, workers are exploited, and whole sections of our community are afraid to call the police. It is urgent that the Congress act and the events on October 5 underscore that urgency.
Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director, United We Dream, said:
The immigration debate is about families like mine, who built their lives and pursued their dreams in this country. For elected officials who want to make political calculations with our lives, we’re here to remind them of the stakes of the debate and the moral crisis our nation faces. Every day Congress and President Obama refuse to act, 1100 people are torn from their homes and families through deportation. They must act, not on extreme enforcement-only policies like the unSAFE act but on real immigration reform that ends the fear of deportations and creates a path to citizenship with permanent protections.
Yves Gomes, of Maryland Youth Dream Committee, an affiliate of United We Dream, said:
My own parents were deported five years ago, forced to leave my brother and me and their American dream behind. Our communities cannot wait any longer. We have been living in fear for too many years already and our elected officials must deliver real immigration reform this year.
Jennifer Angarita, Assistant Director for the AFL-CIO Immigration Campaign, said:
Time and again, we see immigrant workers afraid to assert their rights or complain about abusive working conditions because they know all too well their bosses will threaten to report them to immigration authorities. Not only does this encourage the exploitation of immigrant workers, but it lowers the standards for all workers when so many are denied basic workplace rights.
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera in Wisconsin and leader of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), said:
Immigrant workers make the life of every American more comfortable and richer. It is time to treat this labor and these families with dignity and respect, and stop destroying them with heartless deportations.
Patricia Montes, an immigrant from Honduras, member of NALACC Board of Directors, and Executive Director of Centro Presente in Massachusetts, said:
Deportations tear apart our families and our communities every single day. Not one more family should be torn apart by these senseless and dehumanizing practices. With the October marches, we call on members of both parties to move ahead with reform and stop the deportations and detentions that are so harmful to our communities. We are prepared for the long haul to keep actively demanding respect and dignity for our communities.
Reverend Alvin Herring, Director of Training for PICO National Network, said:
If the question in America is who shall be a person, then the answer is all of us. None of us can live in an America where some of us live in second-class status. During the marches and rallies on October 5th and beyond we will echo the call for citizenship, not deportation. The Lord has heard his people’s cries and has responded in the most powerful way possible, affirming our efforts to win citizenship for all eleven million of his people.
Our movement will not rest until there is a clear plan to solve this issue for our country. The status quo is unacceptable and we won’t stop until an inclusive path to citizenship is achievable for all the 11 million undocumented.