A project of the Center for Community Change

Immigrant Families Protest at White House and Flood Capitol

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Contact: Ricardo A. Ramírez, rramirez@communitychange.org (202) 339-9371

Local Immigrant Families & Leaders Demand GOP Leaders Put Immigration Reform to a Vote, Call on President Obama to Stop Senseless Deportations Part of FIRM’s Keep Families Together Summit

WASHINGTON—More than 80 leaders and immigrant family members from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) demanded immigration reform in visits to Congress, and called on President Obama to stop senseless deportations that are separating immigrant families.

The activities were part of the FIRM coalition’s Keep Families Together Summit, where immigrant family members and local leaders held workshops, press conferences, direct actions in Congressional offices, petition deliveries, and a vigil by the White House, calling on President Obama and Congress to stop the family-separation crisis that is gripping immigrant communities. After leaving Washington today, these emerging leaders will build on these experiences and knowledge to continue the fight for immigrant justice at the local level.

“Any lawmaker who does not support comprehensive immigration reform should expect relentless and constant confrontations that will escalate until they agree to support immigration reform,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos.

Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), said some people ask why immigrant families continue to push for immigration reform when Republicans are trying to slow down the issue.

“Our families are telling members of Congress that we will never stop fighting to stop the family separation crisis that grips our community and that our political voice will not be silenced. We want a path to citizenship now and we want needless deportations which tear our families apart to end,” Salas said.

For these leaders, the rampant pace of senseless family separations at the hand of the administration and the Republicans’ decision to slow down immigration reform means they will have to live under the fear of losing a father, a sibling or a daughter, because our current policy works to separate hundreds of families every day – it’s why the administration is close to the daunting benchmark of two million deportations. So, with the possibility of separation hanging over these families’ heads, waiting and sitting back is not an option.

Nora Realzola, a DREAMer with Promise Arizona, had a message for President Obama: Stop Senseless Deportations.

“I have a work permit but I can be taken away anytime just like my father was,” Realzola said. “I want to see my father again, hold him, hug him and tell him in person how much I love him. President Obama, I am here to ask you to act and stop needless deportations! Be a champion for our families!”

The FIRM escalations is impacting all GOP districts because the movement has over 1.5 million supporters online and coalition members in 30 states.

The families came to Capitol Hill on the same day Republicans were set to vote to block executive action that could help immigrants. Republicans want to strip President Obama of his executive authority and the House Judiciary Committee cited the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers, which Obama granted, as a reason.

“The House GOP continues to play political games instead of working to fix our broken immigration system,” Matos said. “FIRM and its families will not let them get away with such egregious actions.”

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