Grassroots immigration advocates call for President to meet with families suffering from deportation policies
Washington – President Obama today met with Latino celebrities to discuss his commitment to fixing our country’s dysfunctional immigration system and constructing a national dialogue to build bipartisan support for immigration reform. The following is a statement by Marissa Graciosa, director of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM):
“It’s good to see the President devote so much time to keeping the imporant issue of immigration reform in the spotlight. We commend President Obama for meeting with influential Latinos who have actively and fiercely advocated for reform, such as El Piolín, Rosario Dawson and Don Francisco. We know they went into the meeting with the best interests of the country, the Latino community and immigrants in mind.
“The President’s next meeting should be with those directly affected by immigration. Just like he invited people with inadequate or no health insurance in making the case for health care reform, he should invite undocumented immigrants to hear their stories of struggle and commitment to this country.
“For instance, the President could invite Yves Gomes, a college student from Maryland who recently was granted a deferment mere days before his scheduled deportation. Gomes could share with him his story about having his parents deported, and packing his belongings and saying goodbye to friends thinking he would be forced out of the only country he knows as home.
“Maybe Muhammad Zahid Chaudhry could attend. Chaudhry would tell the President how he served in the Army National Guard and sustained injuries that left him in a wheelchair, but now is facing deportation. Or maybe Raul Cardenas of Denver could be there to tell him how he fears being torn away from his young daughter and wife.
“There are a lot of people who are concerned and are working actively to make immigration reform a reality. It is truly impressive the diverse interests and backgrounds of those who have met with the President just this month to talk about reform and says a lot about the importance of reform to our country. But those whose very future depends on it should be included in the conversation. These are voices the President and America need to hear.”
AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT: Marissa Graciosa
Marissa Graciosa is the director of FIRM and has been actively involved in the immigration reform movement for more than 10 years. She has been quoted by numerous publications and interviewed by various television and radio news outlets. Ms. Graciosa is available for interviews. To schedule her, please contact Mary Moreno, press secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-630-0230.
FIRM (Fair Immigration Reform Movement) is a coalition of more than 200 of the country’s largest and most active state and local immigration advocacy groups representing nearly every state. It is convened by the Center for Community Change.