A project of the Center for Community Change

Immigrant-Rights Leaders React to Possible Relief Delay

WASHINGTON – In reaction to indications this week that the White House might delay relief for immigrant families, regional and national immigrant-rights leaders with the nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), held a telephonic press conference asking President Obama to be a leader and fight for families.

Following the call, the participants released the following statements:

Angélica Salas, Executive Director for the Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and National co-chair for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM)
“Whether this is a delay of weeks or months, the president would be exposing millions of mothers, fathers and children to the prospect of losing their families. Tens of thousands would be hurt by delay. Thousands of children will lose their parents. That’s thousands of lives damaged, families in financial difficulty, maybe homes lost, jobs unfilled, and kids without a mom or a dad. Even if we put aside our convictions for a second and look this strictly through the political lens, this is The White House operating not on the reality of the human suffering caused by our broken immigration system but on unfounded political fears.”

María Rodríguez, Executive Director, Florida Immigrant Coalition
“Relief for immigrant families is an urgent moral issue. But it’s also a leadership issue, and President Obama is facing a huge test. Should he turn his back on our families again, he might be failing a huge test of his leadership , and wasting a major opportunity in his term as president. On immigration, leadership means shaping events rather than giving in to false fears. This debate is not about politics – though we are happy to point to the facts on how bold pro-immigrant policies make for good politics. It’s about families and about whether our policies and actions reflect our country’s values.”

Fernando Mejía, Alliance for a Just Society
“In our communities, parents see their neighbors taken from their children all the time. Regardless of how brave and resilient these families are, the fear is real: They wonder if they will be next. They wonder whether President Obama will act, or if he will he give in to fear. The question of whether President Obama will act reverberates across our communities, and it has the power to define a presidency and politics for years to come. President Obama has a choice: Causing our families wait and suffer in the name of political speculation, or standing up to end needless family separation.”

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