June 30 National Day of Action: Immigrant Rights Groups Spread Message that “Change Takes Courage”
Mobilizations across the country call for Administrative relief
Washington – Immigrant rights advocates are ramping up a campaign to bring relief to millions of immigrant families struggling with detention, deportation, and family separation. The compelling story of Jose Antonio Vargas — a Filipino immigrant and Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who recently revealed that he was undocumented in a New York Times magazine article — has created new urgency around the issue of immigration reform. Groups united under the banner “Change Takes Courage” are mobilizing to keep the pressure on.
As part of a national push by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the Change Takes Courage campaign is urging President Obama to keep families together by ending the deportations of non-criminals, including parents of citizen children, DREAM-eligible youth and military veterans. The campaign has also called for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to discontinue programs like Secure Communities that undermine public safety.
Protests, rallies and town hall meetings will take place in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina and other states on June 30. According to FIRM coordinator Marissa Graciosa, “We desperately need relief for immigrant families and we will continue to hold up their personal stories as part of this nationwide campaign.”
Also today, people across the country will be flooding the White House with calls, demanding that the Obama Administration bring relief to immigrant families. New videos released by the coalition show various people who have faced deportation calling on President Obama to meet with them and other affected families. The videos include a father of two US citizen children who was deported to Cameroon and a 4-year old who, together with his parents, recounts his father’s 19-month stay in immigration detention earlier this year.
The pressure campaign targeting the Obama Administration has contributed to some key advances, including a White House meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other influential Latino leaders, a speech from the President at the border, and the reintroduction of the DREAM ACT in the Senate. Still, said Graciosa, “legislative prospects for positive immigration reform are dim and thus we continue to pressure President Obama. Words are not enough – we demand that he take action now.”