A project of the Center for Community Change

FIRM Families Meet with President Obama

P052113PS-0472This morning, President Obama and Vice President Biden met with seven family members from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) to hear stories about how their families have been impacted by our nation’s broken immigration system.

“The very fact that this meeting happened today is a testament to FIRM’s 15-year project of building the power of our movement and the power of family stories,” said Melissa McGuire-Maniau, one of the family members present in the meeting.

McGuire-Maniau is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force from Winter Park, Florida. Her family lived in constant fear because ICE repeatedly came to her front door, threatening to deport her husband.

“One simple knock on the door can tear our family apart. This feeling of powerlessness is common to all of us,” she told reporters in a press conference following the meeting. “By joining this movement to keep families together, we have been able to turn that fear into real power.”

“The President seemed visibly moved by our stories and pledged to keep working on immigration reform,” said McGuire-Maniau, affiliated with the Florida Immigrant Coalition, a FIRM member.

At the meeting, the President reiterated his commitment to passing a bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform bill this year. And he underscored that the stories he heard today are a good reminder that immigration isn’t just a policy issue, but it is about families and communities. The President encouraged the families to continue sharing their stories.

Diana Colin, an activist and graduate of Cal State Fullerton from Los Angeles, also spoke with the president, telling him her story of living as a Legal Permanent Resident with two undocumented parents.

“From the tragedy of families being ripped apart to the triumph of overcoming incredible obstacles, we told just a few of the millions of stories that are the real moral and political case for immigration reform,” said Colin, affiliated with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, a FIRM member.

The other people at the meeting were: Kevin Lee of Los Angeles, affiliated with the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium; Mehdi Mahraoui, affliated with the New York Immigrant Coalition; Angie Kim, also with the New York Immigrant Coalition; Miguel Leal with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition; and Justino Mora with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

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