A project of the Center for Community Change

Press Releases

Elected Officials Invite FIRM Families to Be Present at State of the Union

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@communitychange.org, 202.339.9377
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org 202.339.9331

Senators and Representatives Highlight the Families Affected by Broken Immigration System and the Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

(WASHINGTON)—Weeks after the President’s announcement of administrative relief for five million immigrants, the effects of his immigration action continue to be highlighted by immigrants’ rights advocates. This week, elected officials from various states acknowledged the contributions of the families affected by our broken immigration system.

Various members of Congress invited immigrant families to be present for the President’s State of the Union address tonight. Some of these families included members of Fair Immigration Reform Movement’s (FIRM) organizations.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada invited Blanca Gamez, a member of Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN). Gamez, a long-time leader with PLAN, comes from a mixed-status family. She worked for Hermandad Mexicana and Mi Familia Vota, and founded “DREAM Big Vegas” to advocate for the passage of the DREAM Act and educate students and parents around navigating the education system in Nevada while undocumented.

Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA) invited OneAmerica member Juan Macedo de Alba from Mount Vernon, Washington. Juan is a 17-year-old DREAMer  who has faced deportation.

From California, Representative Tony Cárdenas invited Olga Cordero, member of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Cordero, an undocumented immigrant originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, has lived in the San Fernando Valley from more than two decades. Once the owner of a small jewelry repair business, Cordero knows hard work and dedicated herself to put her children through school. Tuesday, she will be in the gallery of the United States House of Representatives.

As the President stated in tonight’s address, “surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken from her child.” Affirming his commitment to comprehensive immigration, President Obama emphasized that legislation that establishes comprehensive immigration reform is possible.

Kica Matos, spokesperson for FIRM, stated, “Our work in the immigrants’ rights movement will continue. We stand ready to work with President Obama and Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship, the permanent solution to the broken immigration system. We will not stop working until all undocumented immigrants have a pathway to citizenship and live in this country free from the fear of deportation.


Republicans Continue to Vote in Favor of Separating Families

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@communitychange.org, 202.339.9377
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org 202.339.9331

Fair Immigration Reform Movement Condemns GOP Vote Today to Undo President’s Administrative Action, Repeal DACA 

(WASHINGTON)—Republicans showed today that they continue to be in favor of separating families, voting nearly along party lines to undo President Obama’s administrative action to help keep children with their parents and to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“While some Republicans did stand up and vote against several of the anti-immigrant amendments, none of the House Leadership did, officially signaling that they will support efforts to separate families and deport parents and children,” said Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). “More Republicans must stand up and speak up for what is right—humane immigration reform that keeps families together.”

“It is also outrageous that the first vote the House Republican leadership decided to take on immigration punishes millions of hardworking immigrants who have contributed so much to the U.S. economy and have come to love their adopted country,” Matos added.

At a news conference before the vote today, Isabel Aguilar, a member of the FIRM group CASA de Maryland, spoke of how she moved to the U.S. 11 years ago from Honduras to provide a better life for her family. She and her husband and three children, two of them U.S. citizens. Under administrative action, Isabel and her husband would be eligible to stay in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

“We need an opportunity, we need a work permit,” Aguilar said. “We can’t give security to our children if we don’t feel secure.”


Immigrants’ Rights Leaders Urge Congress to Vote ‘NO’ Against Anti-Immigrant Amendments That Would Tear Families Apart

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@communitychange.org, 202.339.9377
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org 202.339.9331

House Republicans are threatening U.S. national security by recklessly holding up the Department of Homeland Security budget with anti-immigrant amendments that eliminate work permits for 5 million people

WASHINGTON—The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) rebuked House Republicans for proposing harsh anti-immigrant amendments that would block relief for millions of immigrant families, workers and youth. Despite promises to end partisan gridlock, Republicans in the House have made clear what their immigration agenda will be within the first week of the GOP-controlled Congress – deporting more immigrants and separating more families. The amendments proposed would repeal work permits for millions of immigrant workers established under President Obama’s executive actions on immigration and some proposals go as far as to eliminate the Deferred Action program for Dreamers from 2012.

“America is looking to Republicans to come to the table with solutions, not create more problems,” said Kica Matos, spokesperson for FIRM. “Threatening the defund the Department of Homeland Security in order to block relief is an irresponsible and immoral attack on immigrant families that is also bad for our economy and for the nation as a whole.”

Instead of addressing our broken immigration system, House leadership is letting Steve King and the most extreme anti-immigrant hardliners in the Republican caucus set the agenda on immigration. This is the third time House Republicans have tried to take DACA away from young people who have received protection. With these amendments, Republicans are showing once more that they are not serious about governing.

We urge Members of Congress to stand with us and reject these latest attacks on our families.”

Wednesday morning, immigration advocates and immigrant families will gather for a press conference with House Democratic leaders before the House votes on this legislation. Isabel Aguilar from CASA de Maryland, is a parent of U.S. citizen children and will be present and available for interviews. Details for press conference are below.


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