For Immediate Release: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013
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Immigrant Rights Coalition Gives Senate Deadline to Introduce Immigration Bill
Families Will Tell their Stories of Hardship Under Current Immigration Laws
March 21st Deadline will be Marked with Daily Stories
(WASHINGTON)—The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) today gave the Senate’s “Gang of 8” until March 21st to introduce an immigration reform bill that lays out a clear path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.
“We will only support legislation that contains a reasonable time to attain citizenship, and, keeps our families together as they work toward becoming full-fledged Americans,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. FIRM is a coalition of immigrant rights groups in 30 states. “The Gang of 8 and all other members of Congress should be aware that our families will be telling their stories of how the broken immigration system has torn their families apart.”
The families will be telling their stories during FIRM’s “Keeping Families Together” national bus tour that kicks off on Monday, Feb. 25, in Chicago. The tour will take place in 19 states and in over 90 cities, with families at every stop telling why achieving comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship must be the number one priority of Congress.
Some bus tour facts:
*Traveling in 19 states, logging more than 20,000 miles
*Visiting over 90 cities
*Over 500 families participating
*Visiting over 100 congressional districts and 38 U.S. Senate offices
Jennifer Martinez, an American citizen, will tell how her four children still are fearful that she too will someday be taken by police, as their dad was last year and deported back to Mexico.
“My children cry every day for their daddy and I cry whenever I have to leave them,” Jennifer said. “I never get to see them because I need to work two jobs to support us. My family has been torn apart.”
Jose-Antonio Machado, 17, and his twin brother, Juan-Manuel, may never see their mother again, since she was deported back to Nicaragua two years ago.
“My brother and I are lucky because we have been granted Deferred Action status because we are DREAMers,” Jose-Antonio said. “But I want my mother to be able to live here in the U.S. with us so we can be a family again.”
FIRM is asking the Gang of 8 to adhere to several principles, outlined here (link to shortened letter) as they craft an immigration bill:
**Completion of enforcement “triggers” must NOT be tied to a path to citizenship
**Reform must include a meaningful, unencumbered path to citizenship
**Family reunification must be the bedrock of a reform package that includes LGBT people
**Reform must provide opportunities for safe future migration and ensure worker protections
“FIRM will stand firm on these principles and we are prepared to press the Gang of 8 to adhere to them,” Matos said. “We WILL hold firm to the March 21st deadline and when the bus tour kicks off on Feb. 25th, will be start our ’25 Stories, 25 Days’ countdown to the deadline.”
“I hope on March 21st, the story we tell that day will be of a Senate bill that includes a path to citizenship,” Matos added.