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ICYMI: Why Citizenship Matters

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The botched Jeb Bush media tour and related controversy over his immigration positioning dominated this week’s immigration news.  But the debate also clarified the fact that a road to earned citizenship is already the mainstream position on immigration reform.

As Mayor Julián Castro and Frank Sharry remind us, citizenship vs. residency is not just a technical policy issue, but goes directly to the questions of whether we have learned our lessons of the past and what type of America we want to be.

  • Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio and 2012 Democratic National Convention Keynote Speaker, spoke at the Americans for Immigrant Justice dinner in Miami last night, and used the occasion to deliver a compelling immigration speech that included a substantial focus on citizenship.  Mayor Castro stated, “Whether it was Plessy vs. Ferguson and the idea that separate could ever be equal, or the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, we can’t have a permanent class of second-class citizens, never mind a permanent class of noncitizens…So while some are tempted to just split the difference and impose an in-between solution, I believe that it’s imperative that we not codify a permanent underclass in the United States of America.” 

Read a recap of Mayor Castro’s speech: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Castro-talks-immigration-in-Miami-4338081.php

  • Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, writes a new Huffington Post column, “Immigrants Yearn to Be Americans, Not a Permanent Underclass.”  Writes Sharry, “‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to…be part of a permanent underclass in American society…”?  Oops. Wrong America.”  Sharry writes that despite the “political dust-up” over Jeb Bush’s new immigration book, “largely absent from the discussion is what the policy position espoused in his book — legal residency without citizenship — might mean for America.” 

Read Sharry’s column: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-sharry/immigrants-yearn-to-be-am_b_2825553.html  

Today at 2pm, America’s Voice Education Fund alongside fellow immigration advocates will hold the third in a series of weekly press briefings.  Each week, a different and diverse group of speakers from a range of backgrounds will share the latest information on the players, politics, legislation and developments coming down the pipeline as the debate in Congress moves forward.  In this week’s Office Hours press briefing, experts on immigration law and workers’ rights will walk through the details needed in legislation to make a path to citizenship viable, achievable, and as inclusive as possible.  They will explore lessons learned from other programs—including Reagan’s 1986 immigration law and the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—and talk about key components of what citizenship should look like in legislation currently being drafted in Congress.  If you’d like to join, dial: 866-952-1906; Passcode: IMMIGRATION.

America’s Voice Education Fund — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform