A project of the Center for Community Change

Press Releases

President Obama Breaks His Pledge to Immigrant Families

WASHINGTON – Deepak Bhargava, on behalf of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), released the following statement today in response to President Obama’s decision to delay relief for immigrant families. Bhargava is the Executive Director of the Center for Community Change, a member of FIRM.

“In a breathtakingly harsh and short sighted political miscalculation, immigrant families were sacrificed today. Make no mistake – this delay will have tragic consequences for the fathers, mothers, sons and daughters who will be ripped from one another’s arms in the coming weeks and months. A delay of weeks may not seem like a lot to a politician in DC, but it is everything to a child who will lose his or her parents in that time.”

“President Obama has broken yet another promise he had made to immigrant families. By cowing before squeamish Democratic Senators and GOP bullies he has put politics ahead of the lives of immigrants and urgent needs of America. Immigrant families will respond to this lack of leadership with a brave and fierce determination to make sure promises are kept.”


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.”


Fair Immigration Reform Movement Groups Release Electoral Plans for November

For Immediate Release: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014
Contact: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@cccaction.org (202) 339-9331

Legislative Targets Divided Into Two Categories: Family Uniters and Family Dividers 

(WASHINGTON)—Immigrant rights groups who are members of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) today released their electoral plans for November, dividing legislative targets into two categories: family uniters and family dividers.

Family uniters support efforts to allow immigrant families to remain together in the United States while they seek to become full-fledged citizens,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “Family dividers are those who have embraced policies of deportations, family separations and other cruel and inhumane legislation.”

“Politicians should remember just how powerful the Latino and immigrant vote is in this country,” Matos said. “Look at the Senate race in Colorado, a state where Latinos comprise an estimated 14 percent of the electorate. A report issued in June by Latino Decisions shows that 63 percent of Colorado Latino voters know an undocumented immigrant. And 35 percent said they know people who have been deported or detained.”

“Immigration reform is an extremely important decision in Colorado and in other states with a high percentage of Latino voters,” Matos added. “These groups will be out in full force from now until the November elections making sure Latino and immigrant voters know who is on their side and who is vehemently opposed to immigration reform.”

Groups releasing their plans today are based in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan and New York.

Here are the groups’ plans:

ARIZONA: Promise Arizona in Action
Media contact:  Petra Falcon, petra@promiseaz.org (520) 360-6128

Promise Arizona in Action will concentrate its efforts on Republican Rep. Matt Salmon as a “family divider.” The key action will be targeting 10,000 low-propensity Latino and Asian voters with phone banks and canvassing.

“It is not fair that we are suffering because people like my mother do not have legal status, she has a dream to work to protect and take care of our family,” said Brian Sanchez, a 13-year-old U.S. citizen with an undocumented mother. “We share the same dreams as any family I know– I want to ask Rep. Matt Salmon what he would do if he were in my mother’s shoes.  I want to ask him to fight with us to keep our family and other families together.”

Media Contact: Diana Colin, diana@chirlafund.org (562) 332-3249

CHIRLA Action Fund will focus on Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy as a “family divider.” Key actions will include compiling stories from immigrants who have benefited from DACA and other key immigration reform measures; a constant presence at town halls and other events featuring McCarthy and movement building training in Bakersfield, McCarthy’s hometown.

“The community in the Central Valley consist of hard-working immigrant families, most of these with no legal status,” said CHIRLA Action Fund leader Daniel Penaloza. “It is not acceptable for our Representative in Congress to ignore the issue of immigration reform when it directly affects the people in his own backyard.”

Media contact: Patty Kupfer, pkupfer@americasvoice.org (720) 441-4912

The CIRC Action Fund, along with Colorado Progressive Action and Mi Familia Vota, will be concentrating its efforts on Republican Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman, who are identified as “family dividers.” The actions will include mailings, door to door campaigning and phone banks. There will be GOTV efforts in Adams, Jefferson, El Paso, Weld and Pueblo Counties.

“Over one year has passed since the U.S. Senate approved bipartisan immigration reform in June 2013 that would help keep Colorado families together. And for over a year, Congressmen Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman failed to take any meaningful action to ensure similar bipartisan legislation passed in the U.S. House,” said Nita Gonzales, President of CIRC Action Fund. “Instead, the Republican Congressmen voted to deport DREAMers and separate families. Through the Colorado Immigration Voter Accountability Project, we will ensure that this November, Colorado voters remember who acted as family uniters and who acted as family dividers.”

FLORIDA: Florida New Majority
Media Contact: Moné Holder, mone@flnewmajority.org (305) 321-4573

The Florida New Majority will be concentrating its efforts on Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia, praising his efforts as a “family uniter.” The actions will include mailings, door to door campaigning, phone banking with the Latino voter base in Miami-Dade County.

“The power of the immigrant vote is unquestionable thanks to organizations like ours on the ground that have educated and mobilized the community to take that power in their hands and use it,” says Maria Rodriguez, co-founder of Florida New Majority. “Throughout the years we learned that our political muscle can protect our families from abuse and criminalization. We are building that muscle day by day, door by door, until we win the champion representation we seek.”

MICHIGAN: Michigan People’s Campaign
Media Contact: Ryan Bates, ryan@michiganpeoplescampaign.org

“Michigan People’s Campaign will be running a voter engagement campaign throughout the state of Michigan to highlight Family Uniters, like US Senate candidate Gary Peters, and family dividers, like House member Fred Upton,” said Michigan People’s Campaign Director Ryan Bates. “It’s time for elected leaders in Michigan to understand the growing power of the pro-immigrant community at the polls.  We’re going to hold those who’ve voted to divide immigrant families and deport immigrant students and refugees accountable.”

NEW YORK: Make the Road Action Fund and New York State Immigrant Action Fund
NYSIAF contact: Bessie Schachter, Bessie.schachter@nysiaf.org (212) 647-9009
Make the Road Action Fund contact: Daniel Altschuler, daniel.altschuler@maketheroadactionfund.org 917-494-5922 (English/Spanish)

Make the Road Action Fund and the New York State Immigrant Action Fund will be concentrating their efforts on the following candidates:

**Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, identified as a “family divider”
**Democratic Rep. Timothy Bishop, identified as a “family uniter”

Key activities for NYSIAF: voter registration and canvassing, letter to the editor campaign, field actions.
Key activities for MRAF: get out the vote canvass in targeted districts, coordinated day of action with FIRM partners, candidate forums.

“Immigrant Action is proud to stand with FIRM and the national effort to bring family uniters back to Congress and identify members, like Michael Grimm of New York, who stand in the way of immigration reform,” said Bessie Schachter, Program Director at Immigrant Action. “Our elected officials must serve all families, including the immigrant families presently living and working under the constant threat of deportation.”

“Congressional candidates’ positions on immigration reform will be critical for Latino voters in New York when they go to the polls in November,” said Carlos Reyes, a member of Make the Road Action Fund. “In Congress, there are family defenders and family dividers. The family defenders have come out in support of immigration reform, while the family dividers have not, and we have been watching. Among them, Rep. Tim Bishop has strongly supported and identified with the values ​​of immigrants and as an advocate for our families. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Grimm has not supported us—supporting someone who does not support the values ​​of our community would be catastrophic. ”


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