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Thursday, September 17, 2009

UPDATE: Oregon Coalition Applauds Rep. Gutierrez for Taking the Lead on Immigration Reform Legislation

September 17, 2009

Francisco Lopez, Executive Director: (503) 269-5694
Erik Sorensen, Communications Director: (503) 488-0263

Oregon Coalition Applauds Rep. Gutierrez for Taking the Lead on Immigration Reform Legislation

On Citizenship Day, CAUSA joins with Communities across the country to call for real action on comprehensive immigration reform

Salem, Ore. – Today, hundreds of immigrant leaders and representatives called upon Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to lead a strategy in the coming weeks that will get specific comprehensive immigration reform legislation introduced and moving through the halls of Congress. With the overwhelming support of communities across the country, Rep. Gutierrez agreed to do so at an event in Washington organized by the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (a network of pro-immigrant advocacy groups) as part of their Citizenship Day celebration.

Rep. Gutierrez played a pivotal role in the Familias Unidas interfaith tour earlier this year that introduced families separated from loved ones by our broken immigration system to his colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and House Democratic Leadership and helped build compassion and support for immigration reform.

“The immigrant, faith, labor and business community in Oregon are ready to support a bill that fixes our broken immigration system,” said Francisco Lopez, Executive Director of CAUSA. “We want to support Rep. Gutierrez and the CHC in taking bold action to break through the years-long stalemate on Capital Hill.”

CAUSA and our allies expects the Gutierrez’s effort to lead to a progressive immigration bill which they defined as having the following features:

  • a pathway to citizenship that keeps families together;
  • elimination of the family immigration backlogs that keep people waiting years and decades for legal entry;
  • a system to modernize the process by which visas are allocated so that they reflect actual economic needs;
  • protection of worker rights for immigrants and native-born workers;
  • restoration of basic due process rights and protection of basic rights and liberties;
  • enforcement that respects these rights and restores confidence in the immigration system; and effective and innovative immigrant integration programs
“We are confident that if we can get a game going, we can win just and fair immigration reform,” Lopez said. “It will take leadership and a sense of urgency, and Rep. Gutierrez and the CHC had the courage to stand up and tell the stories of our separated families at a time when people weren’t listening. Now we are asking him to step up to the plate again to get things moving in Congress for an immigration reform bill. We hope members of the Oregon Congressional delegation join in him in making the passage of an immigration bill a top priority.”

While a great deal of attention has been on health care reform – and rightly so – the urgent need for immigration reform has not diminished. If anything, the acrimony, deception and scapegoating of immigrants in the health care debate has underscored the need for a comprehensive solution that resolves the immigration issue. Immigrants, faith leaders, businesses, labor unions, progressive groups, and a broad coalition across the political spectrum want solutions to our current immigration mess.

“We need smart, sensible, American solutions to the issues facing American communities, and that includes immigrants,” Lopez said. “We take citizenship very seriously and want to help shape the direction of our nation.”

CAUSA, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition, is the largest Hispanic civil and human rights and advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest. For more information, visit



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