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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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office hours“Immigration Reform Summer” Kicks Off with Hundreds of August Recess Events Across the Country; Civil Disobedience and Cantaloupes in Washington; and What it all Means for the House GOP and Immigration Reform

Today, America’s Voice alongside other immigration advocates and policy experts held the twenty-first in a series of weekly “Office Hours” press briefings.  Moderated by Frank Sharry, Executive Director at America’s Voice, today’s call featured Francisco Heredia, National Field Director, Mi Familia Vota; Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition; and Estefany Menendez, Leader with PICO’s Campaign for Citizenship. During today’s call, speakers discussed the plans to turn up the heat during August recess with hundreds of events that will take place in key GOP districts across the country.

Francisco Heredia, National Field Director of Mi Familia Vota said:

Over the next month Mi Familia Vota will be partnering with community partners and leaders to intensify its field efforts, hosting over 70 community events and actions throughout 12 regions in 6 states. The purpose of these efforts is to send a loud and clear message to our House of Representatives, for too long our community has lived under the shadow of deportation, we cannot continue to wait any longer and inaction should not be an option. Reform is vital for our economy, the right thing to do for our community, and widely supported by most Americans; we must urge Congress to do its job and stand by its constituents by supporting good policy as opposed to play into partisan politics.

Said Estefany Mendez, a DREAMER and leader from the San Francisco Bay Area with PICO’s Campaign for Citizenship.  She is one of the 11 pilgrims who will participate in the Pilgrimage for a Pathway to Citizenship, walking 285 miles in 21 days from Sacramento to Bakersfield.

The PICO National Network’s Campaign for Citizenship is launching a 21-day pilgrimage to send a powerful message to the House of Representatives that they need to act now to make citizenship a reality. This is not about politics. It is about human dignity.

This week marked the beginning of the campaign to put pressure on the GOP during August recess. Yesterday, hundreds of members of the immigration reform movement took over Capitol Hill making it clear that we’re not backing down and that members will feel the heat in these next few weeks. Several leaders from the immigration reform movement were arrested in acts of civil disobedience while calling on Congress to act on immigration reform and calling on Boehner to bring a vote to the floor.  Meanwhile, United Farm Workers, United We Dream, and America’s Voice delivered cantaloupes to the 221 GOP members and 3 Democrats that voted for Steve King’s amendment to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Their message was clear: You gave Steve King a vote; give us vote on citizenship.

Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director, Florida Immigrant Coalition said:

We’re working on Congressmen like Rep. Daniel Webster in Florida.  Rep. Webster, are you for moving forward on immigration reform and supporting the families of Florida, following leaders like Marco Rubio and Mario Diaz-Balart?  Or are you with Steve King and nativists who are obstructionists and against cultural change?  In his district, 84% want reform and they want it this year.

The matter of fact is that we have a majority of votes in the House of Representatives to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. However GOP leadership continues to step in the way of the solution that the American people, the immigrant community and the immigration reform movement want.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice said:

The events yesterday sent a very important message to the community, it’s time to throw down and show our strength. They also sent a strong  message to House Republican leadership that it’s time to schedule a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  The movement for immigration reform expects Republicans to take action this fall, and we will ratchet up the pressure until they do so.  This August recess House Republicans will feel the heat from the left, the right and the center. This is the right thing to do for the country, it’s the right thing to do for their party, it’s the right thing to do for our economy and the right thing to do for 11 million people who contribute to America without enjoying the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.