A project of the Center for Community Change

Following Unprecedented, Immoral Low in Congress, Immigrant-Rights Coalition Expands “Keep Families Together” Recess Activity

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2014

From Phoenix to New York, Families are Outraged Over Washington’s Dysfunction, Willingness to Destroy Families

WASHINGTON – On a telephonic press conference today, the nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, the Fair Immigration Movement (FIRM), announced the expansion of its activity during this Congressional recess, in response to unprecedented, immoral scapegoating of immigrants in Congress, coupled with the need for President Obama to come through for immigrant families by bringing about administrative relief.

Last week, Congressional Republicans made clear their contempt for immigrants by opting to destroy families and send children back to unconscionable, often life threatening conditions for the sake of politics. They opted to do this not out of any sense for what’s good for the country, but because they are beholden to the hateful, fear mongering far-right elements of the tea party, and want to use our children and families as political tools to salvage their dwindling base ahead of the midterm elections. Our communities are outraged, and are putting their energy into action – you’ll find a growing list of events on www.StopSeparatingFamilies.org.

Following the call, the speakers released the following statements:

Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice, Center for Community Change

“House Republicans have sealed their fate with our community by trading our families for the sake of politics. They had a chance to do what’s right. But instead they went with the racist, extreme faction of their party, stooping to a historic new low with our community in the process. Now they don’t leave President Obama any option but to take action – and we will hold him accountable to his vow to provide relief to our families.”

Angélica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and co-chair of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement

“If the anti-immigrants in Congress had their way, the children looking for help would be turned right back to the extremely violent gangs they fled, and the children in our homes would see their parents taken away. Here in the immigrant-rights movement, we are moving forward, sure-footed. We have shown our political clout is growing. We have a strategy, we are moving forward, and we will prevail.

Still, that doesn’t change the horror of what happened last week. It should not be underestimated.

When a major political party votes to institutionalize rampant family separation, to say no to our children in our communities, no to our children on the border, it’s inevitably a sad day for America. Because we know that they don’t listen to common sense, have no appreciation for morality when it comes to our families, and they would rather listen to the far-right extremes.”

Petra Falcón, Executive Director, Promise Arizona

“When we talk about the children arriving at our borders looking for help, we are talking about children like Raul, a 16-year-old from El Salvador who actually grew up in Minnesota, but was deported along with his family. While his father opened a business in El Salvador, Raúl tried to migrate to the U.S. again, and he explained why he had to try again.

“He told a reporter that “Here (in El Salvador), if you don’t do certain things, your life is going to end anyway. It’s better to try migrating north than to just stay and die.”

“One day after he came back, he found his father dead – he had been left on a field. He was murdered by the gangs that had been threatening Raul.

“In conversation with these children, youth, families – they express the same values we have of family.  They are willing to risk it all to come to the United States to live their dream of keeping their families united. Those are our same values, and we should embrace them. And that’s why, from Phoenix to Connecticut, these children are being welcomed with open arms.

“We in Arizona we will march forward, spotlight our stories and raise our voices.

“As we call on the President to finish what he started and provide relief for our communities, we will be steadfast in demanding a fair process that gives these children the chance they deserve to make a case for themselves.

“Our country knows this is the right time to step up for these children, and we will be fighting with our brothers and sisters across the country to make sure they get the care and process they deserve.

Steve Choi, Executive Director, The New York Immigration Coalition

“We are appalled that House Republicans, including all of New York’s Republican representatives, have gone from inaction on the issue of Immigration Reform to downright vicious political tactics with their vote to kill Deferred Action for DREAMers last week. This Republican attack on our immigrant communities has left us no choice but to turn to the President for real solutions: provide administrative relief to undocumented communities and stop the mass deportation machine until we can pass immigration reform. This month, our movement, fueled by the very families suffering under our broken immigration system, will share their stories and testimonies at a powerful town hall in New York City on August 26th to amplify our call on President Obama to act now, to act bold and to grant broad administrative relief to immigrants.”

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