A project of the Center for Community Change

Press Releases

Fair Immigration Reform Movement Supports Call for President Obama to ‘Ban the Box’ and Implement Fair Hiring Practices for Federal Jobs

For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 30, 2015
Contact: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org (202) 339-9331

(WASHINGTON)—The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) joined the many civil rights, faith, social justice and advocacy groups calling on President Obama to ‘ban the box’ and implement fair hiring practices for federal jobs.

President Obama has already said he supports banning the box on job applications that asks if an applicant has a criminal record. During a demonstration today at the White House, formerly incarcerated people—who launched and are leading this campaign—and criminal justice reform advocates urged the president to issue an executive order and presidential memo to “ban the box” for jobs with federal employers and contractors.

“FIRM supports the opportunity to give 70 million Americans with criminal records the opportunity to have a fair chance at getting a job,” said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, a FIRM member. “Major employers like Starbucks, Walmart and Target, along with 18 states, 100 cities and counties have already banned the box on job applications.”

During a speech in June at the annual convention of the NAACP in Philadelphia, President Obama said the U.S. criminal justice system remains skewed by race and wealth.

“In too many places, black boys and black men, and Latino boys and Latino men, experience being treated different under the law,” President Obama said during his speech.

“Banning the Box isn’t about removing a question,” said Steve Huerta, a formerly incarcerated leader and member of All of Us or None in Texas from San Antonio, Texas. “It’s about opening doors, giving opportunities and changing lives.”

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Republicans Follow Donald Trump Down Path of Hateful Immigration Rhetoric

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Contact: Donna De La Cruz ddelacruz@cccaction.org (202) 339-9331

The following is a statement from Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM):

“Congressional Republicans who were reluctant to denounce Donald Trump for his incendiary comments about Mexican immigrants are showing this week that they fully support the presidential candidate’s beliefs that all immigrants are criminals and should be treated as such.

What Republicans and Trump won’t discuss is that the vast majority of immigrants are law-abiding and have contributed greatly to their adopted country. An American Immigration Council report  shows that not only are immigrants less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans, but over a century of research shows that higher immigration levels have actually aligned with lower crime rates.

Instead, they have decided to seize on any opportunity to heap more xenophobic rhetoric and legislation on the Republican band wagon. This time they want to make broad changes to national immigration policy that would actually hurt local law enforcement agencies who have strived to gain trust with their immigrant communities.

Instead of helping fix the nation’s broken immigration system that continues to separate families, Republicans continue to look at our community in the worst light. Latino and immigrant voters want solutions, not more biased rhetoric from Republicans.

Yes, people should be held accountable if they commit crimes. But punishing local law enforcement communities who have worked hard to provide immigrants with a safe place to live is not only irresponsible and unsafe, it’s basically a civil rights violation.

Instead of following the Pied Piper of anti-immigration rhetoric further down the path of hateful speech, Republicans must instead focus on real solutions, like the comprehensive immigration reform bills they have been blocking for years that will keep families together as the vast majority of law-abiding immigrants in the U.S. strive to become full-fledged citizens.”

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FIRM Applauds O’Malley Pledge to Limit Deportations

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@cccaction.org, 202.339.9377
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@cccaction.org, 202.339.9331

Movement Will Hold Former Maryland Governor O’Malley to Bold Position to Change our Nation’s Inhumane Immigration System

WASHINGTON—The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) today applauded Martin O’Malley for committing to a bold agenda to change our nation’s “inhumane” immigration system. Following the presidential candidate’s announcement, FIRM continues to call on GOP presidential contenders to participate in a real debate about immigration reform rather than hide behind political double talk.

“Martin O’Malley’s bold immigration agenda puts immigrant families first,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “This the kind of commitment our movement wants to see from all those who vie for our vote in the upcoming election.”

“Immigrant families need immediate action,” said Matos. “O’Malley’s stance shows a commitment to treat our families with the dignity and respect that they deserve. All other candidates—Democratic and Republican—need to take heed of his strong stance and join a real conversation on how to fix an immigration system that breaks up families and keeps immigrants living in fear of deportation. Our immigrant families deserve an honest debate that offers us real solutions and works to keep families together.”

“If Republicans want our vote, they need to stop catering to the extremist elements of their base,” said Matos. “They should stop showing how deeply out of touch they are with the American public and the fastest growing voting bloc in America—immigrant and Latino voters,” said Matos. “Instead of demonizing our families as criminals like Donald Trump has with his racist rhetoric, they should join the debate and offer our families real solutions today. We are paying attention and we will make our voice heard in 2016.”

“We commend Martin O’Malley’s commitment to work for immigrant families and look forward to seeing how he will dedicate himself to the fight of keeping our families together,” said Matos.

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