The National Immigration Forum, an immigration advocacy organization, along with a diverse coalition of labor union leaders, religious groups and civil rights organizations is challenging President Barack Obama to expeditiously pass immigration reform legislation with the launch of a new immigration reform campaign.
Supporters of the new campaign, Reform Immigration for America, sponsored by the National Immigration Forum, aim to mobilize the communities across the country to petition elected officials to implement a reform package that: protects U.S. and immigrant workers, allocates sufficient visas to close unlawful migration channels, legalizes the status of undocumented immigrants working in the country, keeps families together and promotes immigrant integration.
“A promise is a promise,” said Janet Murguía, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy group, Wednesday during a press conference in Washington, D.C.
“He made a commitment to reform immigration during the campaign,” Murguía added. “We have been patient. We understood that the economy and health care needed attention. He had to nominate a Supreme Court justice. Now it is time to pay attention to reforming immigration.”
The campaign launch precedes the president’s June 8 meeting at the White House with congressional leaders to discuss plans to move legislation forward this year.
Reform for workers, business and families is needed, said Ali Noorani, director of the National Immigration Forum, at the press conference. “We will replace the chaos of illegal immigration with control, regulation and order. President Obama has repeatedly promised to move legislation forward. Our campaign [seeks to] restore structure and responsibility.”
All of the organizations in attendance expressed the significance of restoring dignity and due legal process for immigrant workers who are, in many cases, exploited for low-wage labor and subject to substandard working conditions and for families that are torn apart because their varying immigrant statuses. All petitioned for a system that rewards good employers and penalizes unscrupulous ones.
The economic implications of the immigration issues cannot be overlooked,” Noorani said. “Fixing immigration will help fix our economy … making sure that every worker is paying taxes.”
The executive director of the Asian American Justice Center reminded supporters that immigration reform is not simply a Hispanic only. “An estimated 10 percent of our communities are undocumented,” Karen Narasaki said. “Across the country, momentum is building in the Asian American community for comprehensive immigration reform. Addressing the family immigration backlog and bring undocumented families out of the shadows are top issues for our community.”
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