Today, America’s Voice Education Fund and fellow immigration experts held the fourteenth in a series of weekly press briefings, or Immigration Reform “Office Hours.” Each week, a different and diverse group of speakers shares the latest information on the players, politics, legislation and other developments in the debate in Washington and around the nation.
Moderated by Lia Parada, Legislative Director at America’s Voice Education Fund, today’s call featured Daniel Coates, Lead Organizer, Make the Road New York; Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition; and Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director, United We Dream.
During the call speakers discussed this past week’s recess events across the country as well as the state of play in the Senate and House of Representatives. Speakers reminded legislators that the community and the American people are watching, and they both want immigration reform with a path to citizenship once and for all.
Said Daniel Coates, Lead Organizer, Make the Road New York:
Make the Road New York and immigrant communities across the country have stepped up the pressure after the Senate Judiciary Committee passed S744 last week by launching the ‘Remember November’ campaign. Across the country we have been registering voters, mobilizing support, and reminding our elected officials of the power of the Latino and immigrant community at the ballot box. Immigration reform with a path to citizenship is at the top of our community’s priorities, and the time is now to pass it.
Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition said:
Just last week we launched our ‘Pray 4 Reform’ campaign, where we asked people to put their faith in action by praying for reform. We’ve seen a real groundswell of support from across the country and we’ve had meetings with leadership on both sides. Yesterday, we announced a quarter million dollar ad buy in paid media on major networks that Christian evangelicals pay attention to. We have web ads on many relevant Christian websites. What we’re doing is targeting key states and local media, and saying that evangelicals support immigration reform and that we need it now.
Speakers also expressed concern over the possibility of getting a watered down version of the bill in exchange for Republican votes in the Senate floor.
Said Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director, United We Dream:
DREAMers were in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for the historic passage out of committee of bipartisan immigration reform and we will continue to be front and center as the legislative debate keeps heating up and the bill heads to the Senate floor. We won’t allow Senator Rubio or any of the other Gang of 8 negotiators, from either party, to trade away key pieces of the bill that matter deeply to our families and communities. This bill already reflects a compromise position, one that imposes too long of a wait for citizenship with too many roadblocks. It cannot be furthered weakened or watered down and DREAMers will be holding politicians accountable, in their home states and in Washington, D.C.
Said Lia Parada, Legislative Director, America’s Voice Education Fund:
This past week, as members of Congress returned to their districts, advocates around the country demonstrated that America is ready for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship. Now the pressure is on Congress to deliver. As the Senate bipartisan immigration bill moves to the floor, this week’s events sent Congress a clear message: we expect you to lead.
For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here.