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Kica Matos

Immigrant Families Rebuke Jeb Bush: Call for Path to Citizenship

Contact:

For English language Media: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202-339-9331, 202-441-3798 (cell)

For Spanish language Media: Ricardo Ramirez, rramirez@communitychange.org (202) 905-1738

Immigrant Families Rebuke Jeb Bush: Call for Path to Citizenship

Bush’s Flip-flop on Citizenship Puts Politics Before People

(WASHINGTON)—Immigrant families fueling a national bus tour with their stories of hardship dealing with the current broken immigration system rebuked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for flip-flopping on his support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as he looks down the road to the 2016 election.

“He’s putting politics over people, the same people he has supported for all these years,” said Janet Alvarez Magallanes, who was part of the California leg of the bus tour. “I am American, my children were born here but my husband could be deported any day. For me and for my kids, we’ll be very devastated if he gets taken away.”

In an interview Monday on the “Today” show, Bush said that he does not think that most Latinos wanted to become citizens. But public opinion surveys indicate that Latino immigrants do want to naturalize. The Pew Hispanic Center recently released a study that shows that “more than nine-in-ten (93 percent) who have not yet naturalized say they would if they could.”

“Jeb Bush has decided that rather than forge a new path for the Republican Party and be a leader on immigration reform, he will kowtow to conservatives and embrace their brand of exclusionary politics,” said Kica Matos, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of immigrant rights organizations putting on the bus tour. “If he thinks taking this severe right turn in his thinking on immigration reform will win him the Latino vote, he is sorely, sorely mistaken.”

“We renew our call for the Senate to meet the March 21 deadline to introduce a bill. The voices of families on this national tour will be heard by all lawmakers and we will not accept a system which creates a permanent underclass of people who have no pathway to citizenship and full equality.  The very notion is un-American,” Matos added.

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Immigrant Families Launch Bus Tour to Tell Stories of Broken System

Immigrant Families Launch Bus Tour to Tell Stories of Broken System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, February 25, 2013 Contact: For English-Speaking Media: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202-339-9331, 202-441-3798 (cell)

For Spanish-Speaking Media: Ricardo Ramirez, rramirez@communitychange.org (202) 905-1738

More than 500 families will visit 19 states and 100 congressional districts to call for a path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring citizens

CHICAGO – Families torn apart by the immigration system and immigrant rights activists gathered in Chicago today to launch the Keeping Families Together Story Tour. The tour will elevate the voices of families that have been splintered because of our patchwork of failed immigration policies.

Over the next three weeks, more than 500 family members will join the tour and travel more than 20,000 miles to demand immigration reform. The

Keeping Families Together Story Tour was launched by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a coalition of the largest grassroots immigrant rights organizations. FIRM has issued a March 21st deadline to the Senate to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill that contains a path to citizenship.

“For the 25 days from February 25th to the March 21st deadline, Senators will hear stories of separated spouses doing their best to raise their families, children left in foster care because their parents were deported, families who don’t know when they will be reunited again,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. “Senators need to hear the voices of people, not just politicians, when they are crafting this extremely important bill.”

The stories will be highlighted daily, starting February 25th, on the Keeping Families Together storytelling website and the FIRM Facebook page.

As the buses wind through every region of the country, families will tell their stories that illustrate the urgent need for reform. In Chicago, Jennifer Martinez, a young mother from Manitowoc, WI, talked about her husband’s deportation to Mexico last year.  Martinez is now working two jobs to support her four young children.

“It breaks my heart to see my kids pray every night for their father to come home,” said Martinez. “I hope that President Obama is successful in his goal of providing a path to citizenship – but I also have learned that it’s hard to have faith in the same people and policies that broke my family. This tour is an opportunity to share our stories with both elected officials and our own community.”

Artists and poets will join the tour as well, including astronaut Jose Hernandez and singer-songwriter Ricardo Arjona.

The tour will travel through seven regions: Southwest (California, Arizona, Nevada), Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana), Mountain West (Colorado), Great Lakes (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio), New England (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island), Mid Atlantic (New York) and the Southeast (Florida, North Carolina).

Families who cannot travel with the bus can participate in a virtual bus tour by sharing their stories at www.keepingfamiliestogether.net or www.familiasunidasahora.net.

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Immigrant Rights Coalition Gives Senate Deadline to Introduce Immigration Bill

For Immediate Release: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

Contact:

For English-Speaking Media:

Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org, 202-339-9331, 202-441-3798 (cell)

For Spanish-Speaking Media:

Ricardo Ramirez, rramirez@communitychange.org (202) 905-1738

 

**UPDATED VERSION**

Immigrant Rights Coalition Gives Senate Deadline to Introduce Immigration Bill

Families Will Tell their Stories of Hardship Under Current Immigration Laws

March 21st Deadline will be Marked with Daily Stories

 

(WASHINGTON)—The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) today gave the Senate’s “Gang of 8” until March 21st to introduce an immigration reform bill that lays out a clear path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.

“We will only support legislation that contains a reasonable time to attain citizenship, and, keeps our families together as they work toward becoming full-fledged Americans,” said FIRM spokesperson Kica Matos. FIRM is a coalition of immigrant rights groups in 30 states. “The Gang of 8 and all other members of Congress should be aware that our families will be telling their stories of how the broken immigration system has torn their families apart.”

The families will be telling their stories during FIRM’s “Keeping Families Together” national bus tour that kicks off on Monday, Feb. 25, in Chicago. The tour will take place in 19 states and in over 90 cities, with families at every stop telling why achieving comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship must be the number one priority of Congress.

Some bus tour facts:

*Traveling in 19 states, logging more than 20,000 miles
*Visiting over 90 cities
*Over 500 families participating
*Visiting over 100 congressional districts and 38 U.S. Senate offices

Jennifer Martinez, an American citizen, will tell how her four children still are fearful that she too will someday be taken by police, as their dad was last year and deported back to Mexico.

“My children cry every day for their daddy and I cry whenever I have to leave them,” Jennifer said. “I never get to see them because I need to work two jobs to support us. My family has been torn apart.”

Jose-Antonio Machado, 17, and his twin brother, Juan-Manuel, may never see their mother again, since she was deported back to Nicaragua two years ago.

“My brother and I are lucky because we have been granted Deferred Action status because we are DREAMers,” Jose-Antonio said. “But I want my mother to be able to live here in the U.S. with us so we can be a family again.”

FIRM is asking the Gang of 8 to adhere to several principles, outlined here (link to shortened letter) as they craft an immigration bill:

**Completion of enforcement “triggers” must NOT be tied to a path to citizenship
**Reform must include a meaningful, unencumbered path to citizenship
**Family reunification must be the bedrock of a reform package that includes LGBT people
**Reform must provide opportunities for safe future migration and ensure worker protections

“FIRM will stand firm on these principles and we are prepared to press the Gang of 8 to adhere to them,” Matos said. “We WILL hold firm to the March 21st deadline and when the bus tour kicks off on Feb. 25th, will be start our ’25 Stories, 25 Days’ countdown to the deadline.”

“I hope on March 21st, the story we tell that day will be of a Senate bill that includes a path to citizenship,” Matos added.

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