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Latino and Immigrant Groups Respond to Senate Border Deal & Raise Accountability for GOP Senators Standing in the Way of Immigration Reform

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Leaders in Florida, Texas and Illinois Target Senators with Ads, Polling, and Statewide Actions

Listen to DRM Coalition’s new Spanish language radio ad targeting Senator Rubio here.

As Senate leaders are set to announce an agreement on a border security deal, community leaders from key states are escalating pushback against Senators still seen as obstacles to immigration reform passage.  In one way or another, Republican Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (TX), Mark Kirk (R-IL) have created obstacles to the immigration bill, including threatening the path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans. 

While Senator Kirk was initially resistant to issuing his full-throated support behind the Senate bill, Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reported today that Senator Kirk plans to back the Senate immigration bill pending passage of the new border security amendment from Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND).  Said Lawrence Benito, Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in response to this new development:

We will remain focused and working to get immigration reform with a path to citizenship and until that is done, we will continue to organize and to be vigilant on how Senator Kirk votes on immigration.  We have not heard from Senator Mark Kirk, but we will be requesting a meeting to discuss his intentions going forward.

While Latino and immigrant groups welcome Senator Kirk’s new support, they’re ready to continue ramping up the pressure on Republicans standing in the way.

As part of a new, targeted campaign, Cesar Vargas, Director of the DREAM Act Coalition, announced the launch of new Spanish language radio ads campaign set to run in Tampa, Orlando and Miami urging Senator Rubio to protect the careful balance reached by the Senate bipartisan immigration bill that he helped craft. Said Vargas:

While Senator Rubio honestly wants to fix immigration reform, his call for more enforcement has opened the gates for extreme Republicans like Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to make it almost impossible for DREAMers and mixed-status families to one day fulfill the American Dream of citizenship. Indeed, it appears that Rubio fumbled on his political strategy. But DREAMers and Florida voters will remind him that the majority of Americans stand behind a humane path to citizenship.

Listen to the ad here and read the script in Spanish and English.

In addition, Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) in Texas, discussed some of the actions BNHR is planning in-state and also responded to the new deal on border security struck late last night:

Senator John Cornyn proposed an amendment that would hold citizenship hostage to border triggers. One of these was the addition of 10,000 more Border Patrol agents. But yesterday, Senators came to an agreement that would double Cornyn’s proposal and mean doubling the current Border Patrol ranks over the course of ten years. This is an outrageous plan that was struck without consulting with people who live and work on the border. It only adds to a system that we all agree is dysfunctional and accountable to the people. The most obscene element of the plan is that it would create a militarized border between allied nations where there is no military conflict. We remind the Senators that more than 6 million people live on the U.S. side of the border and this plan puts their rights, lives and prosperity at risk.