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Senator Menendez & Immigration, Labor and Progressive Leaders Push for Immigration Reform Ahead of Final Senate Vote

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Remind Opponents What’s at Stake if Reform Fails in 2013  

The Senate is just days away from voting on their bipartisan immigration bill and the House is poised to take up immigration in the coming weeks.

Today, advocates and members of Congress hosted a Google+ Hangout to update the progressive community on the latest in the immigration debate and make one final push for reform before the bill crosses the Senate’s finish line at the end of this week.

“Today’s Google+ Hangout by America’s Voice is an essential part of our effort to talk about fixing our broken immigration system,” said Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ):

Social media and new technology are essential platforms to engage the Latino community and immigration reform supporters who are working to bring people out of the shadows and on a clear pathway to earned citizenship. I will continue to discuss these matters online, in person and on the Senate Floor until comprehensive immigration reform becomes the law of the land.

Last night, the Senate cleared an important procedural hurdle.  A cloture vote on an amendment sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Hoeven (R-ND) passed by a 67-27 margin. A vote on passage of this amendment is now set to take place on Wednesday, followed by another crucial cloture vote and then final passage of the bill on Thursday.

Evelyn Rivera, a DREAMer and Southeast Representative to United We Dream’s National Coordinating Committee, explained how important passing this immigration bill is to her community:

In November 2012, representatives of all of United We Dream’s local affiliate organizations pledged to fight for legislation that would end senseless deportations and abuses and put our families on the path to citizenship. We continue that fight today, challenging politicians who would carelessly trade away pieces of the bill that matter deeply to our parents and our community and holding leaders of both parties accountable.

Added Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary Treasurer of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO):

There’s no higher priority than winning this path to citizenship because that means millions and millions of workers can come out of the shadows.  To the men and women working in this country, there’s nothing more important.  We have millions of workers in the United States who are abused and grossly underpaid, so we want make sure these workers are protected. We’ll keep fighting to make sure the 11 million that they have rights and that the path to citizenship remains fair and achievable.

Anna Galland, Executive Director of MoveOn.org, has been mobilizing progressives around immigration reform for the past several months.  At today’s hangout, she said:

We have a community that is committed to passing immigration reform with a path to citizenship.  It’s a progressive issue because this is a human rights issue.  We’ve really seen a lot of energy on specific aspects of immigration reform whether it’s same sex couples or how this bill will help the economy.  While the Corker-Hoeven amendment has been a huge disappointment to our members, we won’t stop fighting.  We’re in it to win it.  This issue couldn’t be more important.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, reminded us what it’s taken to get to this point and added:

The reason we’re even having the immigration reform debate in Congress now is because of the depth, breadth and strength of the movement for reform that has a pathway to citizenship at its heart.

If you’d like to watch a video of today’s Google+ Hangout, click here.