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Press Releases

Immigrant Families Made Presence Felt at 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans: “We Deserve Dignity, Not Hate”

For Immediate Release: Friday, April 17, 2015
Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@cccaction.org, W: 202.339.9377, C: 305.968.7542
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@cccaction.org, 202.339.9331

FIRM and Other Immigrant Rights Groups Rallied in New Orleans Outside Hearing on Immigration to Denounce Litigation that Delays President Obama’s Relief Programs and Hurts Immigrant Families

NEW ORLEANS—Over 500 Leaders from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the nation’s largest network of immigrant rights organizations, and other allies rallied outside the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana today to lift up the plight of immigrant families affected by the injunction that has blocked President Obama’s administrative relief programs.

FIRM and ally groups present included: the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ), American Fraternity (Florida), Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), Latinos en Axion (Missouri), Latin American Coalition (North Carolina), Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), Texas Organizing Project (TOP), and were led by the New Orleans Workers’ Defense Project for Racial Justice.

“The judges came out today and saw a packed courtroom. They saw the new emerging United States,” said Saket Soni, Executive Director of the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and the National Guestworker Alliance. “They heard arguments about how we can make a bright new future possible for all. This is why DACA and DAPA must continue to be defended not only in the courts, but also in the streets.”

“This fight is not only for those who qualify,” said Brenda Castro from the Congress of Day Laborers. “It is for all who are left behind even from the programs announced by the President in November. We have to continue until everyone is included. Sigamos luchando! Not one more deportation!”

“We are here for our loved ones who are in limbo once again,” said Fernando Lopez also with Congress of Day Laborers. “It was our movement that resulted in the President’s action. And it will be our movement that will win in the end! This is about justice and dignity—no matter the status of a person in a community. They dignity of each person is equal and must be recognized.”

“This fight started many years ago, and it’s time for all of us to be together and organized like this,” said Martha Lugo from TIRRC. “Even the President recognized this country is a country of immigrants. Together we will win. We will have victory in the end because it is our right. Unidos lo podemos lograr. Juntos lo haremos mejor.

“The courthouse today was full reflecting the changing demographics of our nation,” Marielena Hincapie from the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). “Courageous immigrants eligible for DACA and DAPA sat in the front row facing the judges who with their pen could restore these programs.”

“It is difficult to speculate how this panel of judges will rule,” said Hincapie. “But we know that implementation of DACA and DAPA is inevitable.”

“Today we made history,” said Cristina Jimenez of United We Dream. “Groups from all over the South drove to New Orleans to tell these judges that these are the people whose lives their decisions are affecting. The most powerful thing that happened today in that courtroom is that the judges were there in front of people who have come to this country and have felt the impact of the laws that criminalize us and our families.”

“This is why we are here,” said Jimenez whose father Fausto is DAPA-eligible was also present. “This is not the end. This is one step in the legal battle. But we know we will win. Our community already won. We will keep fighting until we have implementation of DACA and DAPA. Nothing has been decided today, but we’re here and have to keep showing up. We know we will prevail.”

“We stand here today to fight with you because of unjust laws and we will win!” said Derrik Johnson, the President of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP. “We must fight in the courthouse. We must stand in protest in the streets.”

“Today, we saw how immigrants all over the country are standing up to make sure our voices are heard,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “And today they were heard inside that courtroom. Now we must continue to make our voices heard in this legal battle. The law is on our side, as are the majority of Americans, who support the President’s actions. We will not give up until we prevail.”

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Fair Immigration Reform Movement: “Immigrant Families Deserve Dignity, Not Hate”

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@cccaction.org, W: 202.339.9377, C: 305.968.7542
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@cccaction.org, 202.339.9331

FIRM Groups Meet in Birmingham, Alabama, Caravan to New Orleans for Hearing on Immigration to Denounce Litigation that Delays President Obama’s Relief Programs

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA—Leaders from the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), the nation’s largest network of immigrant rights organizations, and other allies met in Birmingham, Alabama today to lift up the plight of immigrant families affected by the injunction that has blocked President Obama’s administrative relief programs. These leaders were joined by local faith based leaders and Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell, who spoke in support of these programs:

“This injunction is only hurting immigrant families,” said William A. Bell, Mayor of Birmingham. “We need to lift the ban to allow families to remain united in these United States. It is imperative to find pathways to allow these people to continue to be vital contributors to our communities and to be treated with dignity. Our voices need to be heard in order to remove the injustice that is being put upon these families.”

Araceli Macias of ACIJ and her daughter Rene Elizalde shared their own story: “We came here with nothing but a bag full of dreams,” said Araceli. “We work hard every day and we will keep fighting because I believe this executive action will give us back a piece of our identities that we left behind in our countries. It will gives us back our voice that we have had to silence in the face of injustice. This action will help us not live in fear that our families will be broken up. It will allow our children to follow their dreams.”

“America is said to be the home of the brave and of the free,” said Rene. “I am brave, but I am not free.” Rene added that all she wants is to be able to follow her dreams just like all her American citizen classmates.

“Politicians are playing with our families,” said Michelle Morales with GLAHR. “Our families cannot wait. We need the courts to lift the injunction.”

“We are fighting for freedom,” said Elver Barrios with LAC. “We are going to New Orleans with our head held high to tell those judges that we are here to stay. We are Americans like everyone else. We are strong together and we will fight hard for our families.”

Rev. Angie Wright, Associate Director for Greater Birmingham Ministries and pastor at Beloved Community United Church of Christ in Avondale said a blessing for the caravan asking for “strength and wisdom and strong hearts to challenge oppression and call out for justice and mercy.”

“We have to keep fighting so our children will have a better future,” said Evelyn Servin, organizer with ACIJ. “We are an immigrant family. We contribute something beautiful. We make this country richer, and not just economically, but in culture. And so we must keep fighting,” said Servin.

“All over the country, immigrants and their supporters are standing up to make sure our voices are heard,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “We will continue to do so — in Alabama, in New Orleans and all over the country. The law is on our side, as are the majority of Americans, who support the President’s actions. We will not give up until we prevail.”

FIRM and ally groups present included: the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ), Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR), and Latin American Coalition (LAC from North Carolina).

This group is part of a larger caravan with delegations from 8 Southeast states convening in New Orleans on Friday. There are over 20 solidarity events going on around the country lifting up the families impacted by the delays caused by this lawsuit of the President’s administrative relief programs.

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Fair Immigration Reform Movement Joins Amicus Brief in Support of Administrative Relief

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Contact: Bernardita M. Yunis Varas, byunisvaras@cccaction.org, W: 202.339.9377, C: 305.968.7542
Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@cccaction.org, 202.339.9331

FIRM Denounces All Litigation that Delays President’s Executive Actions to keep Families Together

WASHINGTON—The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), has joined more than 150 civil, labor, and immigrant rights groups in filing an amicus brief supporting administrative relief.

“While anti-immigrant Republicans continue to pollute immigration reform with divisive politics, our movement is standing up to make sure our voices are heard,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “This lawsuit against the President’s immigration action is just an attempt to distract and shroud their xenophobic, hate-filled political games that continue to tear immigrant families apart.  This is not only unjust, it is short sighted and will backfire.”

“The fact that leaders in our communities and in Congress are speaking out against this lawsuit is another reflection of how wrong this charade is,” Matos added. “Our groups are not going to be silent. Not only are we speaking out to call this ploy for what it is, but we will make sure Republicans and litigators know we are watching and paying attention to what is going on inside those courtrooms. Their decisions directly affect our families, and we will not stand by while they play politics with our lives.”

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