Video from today’s press conference is available here.
Today—in between House committee hearings on immigration—Congressional immigration champions, faith leaders and impacted individuals responded to the latest GOP attacks on immigrants and the Obama Administration’s immigration enforcement policies (see video here). Their message was simple: in the absence of legislative reform, the President must do everything in his power to keep families together and realign our immigration enforcement priorities. If House Republicans don’t like it, they are welcome to take up legislative immigration reform that deals humanely with the 11 million aspiring Americans in our country today. One such bill has already passed the Senate, and could easily become law if only House Republican leaders would schedule the vote.
In addition to today’s press conference, impacted individuals and family members are available for interviews throughout the day (see bios below). If you’d like to schedule an interview with an impacted family member or individual, please reach out to the corresponding press contacts listed below.
Speakers at today’s event included Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA); Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI); Rep. John Conyers (D-MI); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA); Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY); Blanca Alcantara, a Dreamer from Los Angeles and leader of IDEAS UCLA, an affiliate of United We Dream; Nathaly Uribe, DACAmented Dreamer from Glen Burnie, Maryland whose parents qualify for executive action; Jong-Min You, a Dreamer from New York who’s now eligible for DACA; Maria Peña, parent to U.S. citizen and small business owner from Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s district in Harrisonburg, VA; Rev. Dr. Sharon Stanley-Rea, Director of Refugee and Immigration Ministries with Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice.
Impacted Individuals Available for Interviews:
Blanca Alcantara, Los Angeles, California
Blanca is Deferred Action recipient and currently a student at UCLA. She served as co-chair of IDEAS, a United We Dream affiliate. Blanca was born in Mexico city and migrated to the U.S when she was 11 years old along with her family and now both of her parents are set to benefit from deferred action as well and be protected from deportation.
Lupita and Isabel Rojas, Canoga Park, California
Lupita is the U.S. citizen child of Isabel, a likely DAPA beneficiary. More than eight years ago, Lupita watched in horror as her father was detained in a large Los Angeles-area workplace raid. During the stressful months that followed, Lupita struggled in school, and her grades plummeted (since then, Lupita has worked hard in school and now maintains a 4.0 GPA). Last summer, Marielena Hincapie of the National Immigration Law Center helped deliver a letter to Speaker Boehner on Lupita’s behalf. In the letter, Lupita asks the Speaker to grant her a birthday wish: a vote on pending immigration reform legislation, which would allow her mother and father to earn their citizenship. Marielena promised Lupita that she would deliver the letter but also warned her that the Speaker was unlikely to act on immigration any time soon. She reflected, and said, “That’s OK. If Boehner doesn’t vote for immigration reform, I’ll tell the president about my birthday wish. He has two daughters, so I’m sure he’ll understand.”
Current immigration laws threaten to tear Lupita’s mother, Isabel, from Lupita and her younger sister, Mirsol, who was born just days after her father’s workplace raid. Thanks to the new DAPA program, Isabel can be there for her daughters who need her.
The Uribe Family, Glen Burnie, Maryland
The Uribe family came to the US 17 years ago from their native Chile. Peter came to the US to join family members in Maryland, many of them US Citizens, and a few months later Nathaly traveled as an infant with her mom to reunite with him and begin their life together in the US. The Uribe’s had another daughter, Stephanie, and the family eventually saved enough money to put a down payment on a house where they could care for Peter’s brother who is in a wheelchair as well as Marlene’s elderly mother. In 2012, Nathaly was thrilled to be able to apply for President Obama’s deferred action policy. It has been hard for them to be part of a mixed status family, but now with the administrative relief, the family is able to stay together and achieve the American dream.
Jose Alberto Piña & Madai Ledezma, New Carrollton, Maryland
Jose Alberto Piña and Madai Ledezma, have a lot on their plates. While raising their six year old daughter, Heather, they’ve played an active role at pro-reform rallies and other activities while also organizing for safe local communities in underserved neighborhoods. Together they built a life residing ultimately in New Carrollton, Maryland, after migrating from Mexico more than 9 years ago. Luckily for them, the executive action will allow them to stay together, and eliminate the fear of not knowing whether they will be able to see each other every night.
Marly Arevalo, Riverdale Park, Maryland
Marly Arevalo is 19 years old and a recent graduate of Parkdale HS. Her family came to the US in 2009 from Guatemala, a country with a high rate of criminality, poverty and very little resources. She, along with two of her siblings, did not originally qualify for DACA, but with the new qualifying dates set out in President Obama’s recent executive action, she will now be eligible to apply for DACA. The opportunities that Marly and her sisters have now are infinite.
Lucy Mendoza Piña, Owings Mills, Maryland
Lucy Mendoza Piña and her then two year old daughter left Mexico 14 years ago in hopes of a better life. At around that same time, Jose Piña came to the U.S to work for a year and earn money to send back to his grandparents in Mexico. Jose and Lucy met, fell in love, got married, and had two additional U.S. citizen children. Lucy’s eldest daughter has DACA. The family lives in Owings Mills.
Tinna Oceguera, Essex, Maryland
Tinna Oceguera lives in Essex, MD with her family. She came to the US 10 years ago with her three young daughters to join her husband here in the US. While here, the couple had a fourth daughter, Dulce, now 9 years old. Tinnas eldest daughter returned to Mexico to study nursing in 2012, and has not been able to return to see her family. Her middle two daughters qualified for DACA under the presidents’ 2012 action.
Jong-Min You, New York, New York
Jong-Min You was brought to the US by his parents from South Korea at the age of one. He attended the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a BA degree in Sociology. Due to his undocumented status, Jong-Min was unable to pursue a career related to his studies and has worked in a flower store, a pizzeria, and currently works at a grocery store. With President Obama’s executive action which lifted the age cap for DACA, he now qualifies for deferred action and work authorization.
Remi Diaz, York, Pennsylvania
Remi Díaz has been here for 19 years and has raised a family, with his US citizen children. His oldest son is 16 years old and his youngest daughter is 9 years old. His wife, Ramona Nuñez, is also originally from the Dominican Republic and is a permanent resident. Remi is deeply committed to his Catholic faith and has worked hard as a window installer for many years. He and his family live in York, Pennsylvania. After so many years of living in the shadows, Remi is now feeling free to go to work and visit his family and friends, while being free from the shadow of fear that’s followed him for nearly two decades.
Domingo Bautista, Spotsylvania County, Virginia
Domingo has been in the United States for over 10 years and is the father to three U.S. citizen children. Currently, he runs his own contracting business where he manages over 10 employees. He just recently finished a big flooring project for the University of Mary Washington. In addition to running his business, Domingo is very active in his community where he serves as a Catholic Church leader in Spotsylvania Country.
Maria Del Carmen Valdez, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Maria Del Carmen Valdez is from Mexico and has been in Harrisonburg, VA for 14 years. She has six children, including one six year-old-US Citizen daughter. Two of her children live in Mexico and Maria has not seen them for 14 years. Additionally, Maria’s mother, who is also in Mexico, is very ill. Thanks to President Obama’s executive action, she no longer has to fear separation from her children and has the freedom to see her other children and elderly mother after many years.
Maria Peña, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Maria Peña, is married and has 3 children. The youngest is a US Citizen. She is from Colombia and has been in the US since 2001. She came to the US on a H4 Visa and has been without status since 2012 because our current immigration laws have kept her from fixing her immigration status. Since she’s arrived in the US, she has been an active and productive member of her community. She’s Catholic and very involved in the Church. She and her husband own a small business, pay taxes and employ two part time US Citizen workers.
Contact: Amanda Pohl; 804-337-1912; email@example.com