A project of the Center for Community Change

Press Releases

Bachmann’s Hateful Statements Are Inexcusable, Must Be Condemned

WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), released the following statement on behalf of Kica Matos in response to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) denigrating comments about the refugee children running away from gangs and violence and coming to the U.S. for help:

“The Republicans’ callous attitudes about vulnerable populations is nothing new. But smearing vulnerable children in danger of being tortured and killed is a dangerous, horrendous new low.

“If Bachmann and the Republicans had their way, we would send all of these children to their graves or to the ranks of the most dangerous gangs in the continent – those are the choices the children face. Republicans will apparently stop at nothing, having crossed a moral line that no elected official should ever be allowed to cross: denigrating vulnerable children and hitting them when they’re down.

“What’s worse, Bachmann’s comments did not happen by accident. They are part of a broader agenda by top Republican brass to send their henchmen out to smear the children and satisfy their own political ambitions – they will not let any sense of truth or shame get in the way of a political opportunity. Republicans are trying to use these imperiled children as a last stand for their shrinking base. This type of fear stoking from Republicans goes hand in hand with the hateful, visceral showing from the worst elements of their anti-immigrant wing – from people spitting on demonstrators to hateful graffiti on the path of the children.

“It is a tragic day when this is what one of our two major parties has to offer. Scapegoating children when they need help is the lowest of the low – it is dangerous. Bachmann’s statements must be condemned far and wide by the Republican Party.”


Pulitzer-prize Winning Former Journalist Arrested

WASHINGTON – The nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, the Fair Immigration Movement (FIRM), released the following statement on behalf of Kica Matos after reports that Pulitzer-prize winning former journalist Jose Antonio Vargas was detained by Customs and Border Patrol:

“Jose’s detainment is another egregious example of an out-of-control system that works every day to break communities and families apart.

“The act of detaining Jose highlights the urgent need to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Jose is an accomplished communicator – and a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist – who has dedicated his career to creating sensible dialogue about critical immigration issues. Detaining him tells our communities – millions of young people who know no other country but this – that they can play by the rules, pay their taxes and work to get ahead, but that our government may still refuse to accept them, and worse, detain them and possibly take them from their families.

“This is the unnecessary tragedy that millions of parents and children fear every day. And it is the tragedy that our families will fight to end. We demand Jose’s release, but we must do much more. We call on President Obama to do his part for our families so that they won’t have to suffer the fear and tragedy of needless separation.  We support the young people Jose got arrested for today and insist they treated fairly and humanely.”


Children Fleeing Violence Deserve Solutions, Not Posturing

Republicans Playing Politics As White House Positions to Potentially Roll Back Important Refugee Safeguards

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, released the following statement on behalf of Kica Matos:

“The humanitarian issue on the border gives our country a choice: Are we the symbol of hope and progress for the rest of the world? Or is our political system so besieged by gridlock that we fail children fleeing the threat of gang violence?

“The White House’s request for resources for refugee children and families are an important first step to respond to the situation on the border. Indeed, people seeking refuge here deserve immigration judges, legal counsel and legal orientation programs, among much broader needs.  But doing the right thing and appropriating the right resources should not come at the cost of sensible refugee protections. As the White House request stands, the administration could preclude the children and families from obtaining the careful, robust screening, and full protection that U.S. law grants them to ensure their safety and wellbeing, and to preserve fundamental due process rights. This would be a shameful disservice to our tradition of welcoming those striving to make it, and could speed up the delivery of thousands of children into the hands of dangerous gangs.

“Republicans, on the other hand, have been palpably eager to turn this delicate situation into a political tool in their quest to oppose President Obama at every step, no matter the situation at hand. They have tried to mislead the public, create confusion, and block the process at every step of the way, while the American people are wondering if we will step up and lead on behalf of these children.

“Instead of leading, we see an unfortunate abdication values and responsibility by the White House and Congress. We are the United States of America – a nation built by generations of families from across the world and where there is an unparalleled pursuit of justice for the more vulnerable among us.

“The children coming to our borders seeking aid constitute a test of our values and our identity. We should pay ourselves tribute by giving them the best process and welcome our country has to offer refugees. The White House and Republicans should uphold our values and pass this test.”


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