For Immediate Release
January 20, 2010
Martine Apodaca (202) 383-5989
Immigration Reform Leaders: We will Pass Immigration Reform in 2010 with Bi-partisan Support
Massachusetts Special Election Doesn't Change Path to Victory
Washington D.C. - Today, leaders of the immigration reform movement convened a national telephonic to discuss the prospects for comprehensive reform in light of the results from the special election in Massachusetts. Ali Noorani, Chair of the Reform Immigration FOR America campaign was joined by Janet Murguia, President of the National Council of La Raza, Eliseo Medina, Vice President of the Service Employees International Union, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, and Craig Regelbrugge, Chair of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform- a business advocacy organization, to demonstrate why the special election will have little effect on the prospects for immigration reform in 2010.
Last night, voters sent a message to Washington: We want leadership and results from our elected officials and Washington isn't doing its job. The economic crisis is first and foremost on everyone's mind. The Congress should act quickly to address the economic crisis and to create jobs. Fixing our broken immigration system is key to fixing our economy because we can't build a strong economy on top of a broken immigration system. Comprehensive immigration reform will add 1.5 trillion dollars to the U.S. economy, drive up wages for all workers, support nearly a million jobs, and increase tax revenues. If we want to fix our economy we must fix our broken immigration system.
Many naysayers and peddlers of conventional wisdom have already begun to write the obituary for President Obama's agenda, including comprehensive immigration reform. But their thinking is exactly wrong. Unlike health care, comprehensive immigration reform has traditionally garnered bi-partisan support, and a path to victory in the United States Senate will require votes from both sides of the aisle. Yesterday's victory by Republican Scott Brown has not changed that calculus and the campaign will continue organizing and pressuring Congress to act. In the last several months, Reform Immigration FOR America has organized thousand of events in nearly every state.
"Last week, Reform Immigration FOR America organized more than 150 events in 41 states. In nearly every case, turnout at our events from every community blew away our expectations. For example, in Detroit we were expecting 300 and over 2000 showed." said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum and Chair of the Reform Immigration for America. "Americans are demanding action on the economy and they know that comprehensive immigration reform is key to a robust economic recovery. They want leaders in Washington D.C. to deliver results."
Janet Murguia, President of the National Council of La Raza confirmed what polling data reveals about the Latino electorate: "Latino and other immigrant voters who care deeply about this issue will not look kindly upon parties and politicians who talk a good game during political campaigns, but fail to take action when they are in charge. President Obama and various leaders in Congress have repeatedly promised to tackle immigration reform this year, and we expect them to keep their promise. Politicians who want Latino support should work together on a common sense solution to the broken immigration system, rather than playing politics with the issue as they have in years past."
Eliseo Medina, Vice President of the Service Employees International Union said that the campaign has always planned to attract bipartisan support. "Yesterday, we lost one vote. That will make our job more difficult-but not impossible. We never thought of immigration reform as a partisan issue-we always knew we would need the support of both parties in order to pass comprehensive legislation. Our entire campaign has been geared up to secure the 279 votes we need to win, and we will keep working to accomplish that-including meeting with Senator Brown to discuss how critical immigration reform is for our country."
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice dismissed the flawed group think that has permeated Washington D.C. "People who say we can't pass immigration reform in this political environment are exactly wrong. Support for comprehensive immigration reform crosses party lines," said Sharry. "If the lesson Democrats took away from Massachusetts is that that they should not take on tough issues or make waves, they are wrong. Voters are hungry for leadership, despise partisanship, and want both parties to work together to solve our toughest problems. Immigration reform represents a golden opportunity."
Craig Regelbrugge, Chair of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform said that comprehensive reform would be a boon to the American economy. "This is a bipartisan issue and America's business community needs comprehensive immigration reform to get our economy moving again. It's time for the Congress to get to work and deliver for the American people."
Americans all over the country have been organizing, marching, holding prayer vigils, and meeting with members of Congress to make clear that they want immigration reform in 2010. Events organized for Reform Immigration for America's nationwide kickoff revealed the commitment and urgency Americans feel to finally passing comprehensive immigration reform in 2010. Overflow crowds from diverse communities sent a message to Congress: We want comprehensive immigration reform.
For an audio recording of today's telephonic press conference please visit: http://tinyurl.com/audioRI4A
For press coverage of the Reform Immigration FOR America's 150 events across the country please visit: http://tinyurl.com/RI4A-Events
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN: The Reform Immigration FOR America campaign is a coalition of more than 600 faith, labor, business, progressive, and immigration reform groups that have joined together to get comprehensive immigration reform passed. For more information please visit http://www.reformimmigrationforamerica.org/ or http://www.reformamigratoriaproamerica.org/
CAUSA, Oregon's Immigrant Rights Coalition, is a member of the Reform Immigration FOR America coalition and is the largest Latino and Latina civil and human rights and advocacy organization in the Pacific Northwest. We work to defend and advance immigrant rights through coordination with local, state, and national coalitions and allies. For more information, visit www.causaoregon.org.