For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013
For English-language media: Donna De La Cruz, firstname.lastname@example.org (202) 441-3798
For Spanish-language media: Ricardo Ramirez, email@example.com (202) 905-1738
Immigrant Families Back President Obama’s Call for a Path to Citizenship
(WASHINGTON)—Immigrant families applauded President Obama for reiterating his call for a path to citizenship as part of immigration reform in his State of the Union speech tonight.
“I’m fighting for immigration reform because of my mother and so our family can stay together in the country we love,” said Justino Mora, a junior studying mathematics at UCLA, and a recent recipient of Deferred Action status. “My mother could be deported any moment because she is undocumented, and my family has so much fear about that.”
Jennifer Martinez, an American citizen from Wisconsin whose husband was deported back to Mexico last year, is now working two jobs to care for her four young children. She wonders every day when her husband will return. And her children are fearful that the police will come one day and take her away.
“It breaks my heart to see my kids pray every night for their father to come home,” Martinez said. “I hope the President is successful in his goal of a path to citizenship, and that it happens extremely soon.”
Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), said the immigration debate is fundamentally a story of families who are suffering but also yearning to contribute as full members of our communities and our nation.
“For this community, immigration reform means a path to citizenship and we will not stop until we achieve this for ourselves, our families and our country,” said Matos, also the Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change, a member of FIRM. “We are also pleased that several undocumented immigrants were invited to the State of the Union address but I hope Congress is not using these people as window dressing. Congress must go beyond pleasantries and delve into the heart of the issue, a pathway to citizenship.”
Matos said members of Congress must act quickly on immigration reform and to focus on people, not politics. She urged lawmakers to read stories from people on how our broken immigration system has affected their families by going to www.keepingfamiliestogether.net. The Center is part of the “Keeping Families Together” campaign being run by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of immigrant rights organizations in 30 states. The campaign’s goal is to highlight stories of real people affected by immigration laws.
FIRM is a network of community-based immigrant advocacy organizations in 30 states. Mora is affiliated with the Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and Martinez with Voces de la Frontera in Wisconsin. CHIRLA and Voces are both FIRM members.