Momentum For Immigration Reform

On the heels of yesterday’s unveiling of a bipartisan Senate blueprint for immigration reform, President Obama today laid out his administration’s plan for overhauling the nation’s immigration system.  NCLR (National Council of La Raza) welcomed the president’s aggressive push for action on this issue, which adds further evidence that 2013 is the year for immigration reform.

“The president’s announcement today is a clear indication that he intends to champion this cause, and it is certainly heartening to see him act firmly to fulfill the promise he made to the Hispanic community during his campaign,” said Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR.  “His announcement today, coupled with yesterday’s Senate proposal, has turned the corner on this issue, building momentum and motivating lawmakers to put politics aside and get this important work done.  Both parties now agree that reform is the necessary thing to do—and the right thing to do.

“Among the most encouraging developments is that there is now consensus that a roadmap to citizenship must be the centerpiece of any viable piece of legislation put forward.  Even more heartening is that the president’s plan contains a straighter path to citizenship for new Americans than yesterday’s Senate proposal.  We are also very glad to see that his plan embraces the recommendations outlined by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, whose principles should be a guiding light in the debate.  Specifically, we are pleased to see that the president’s platform promotes a system that respects all American families, including our LGBT brothers and sisters.

“Additionally, we want to ensure that we keep in mind the health needs of workers, children and families who stand to benefit from immigration reform, and we intend to work closely with all parties to achieve that goal.  A rational solution to modernizing our immigration system and making it fair and equitable is on the horizon.  We urgeWashingtonto continue working together to make those critical changes a reality.”

Statement from Ai-jen Poo, NDWA Director

We applaud the President for his commitment to creating a clear and accessible roadmap to citizenship for the millions of aspiring Americans currently living and working in this country. But this road needs to be open to all who dream of a better life in theUnited States—not just those with advanced degrees. And we need the President’s continued leadership to make the dream a reality.

Millions of new American immigrants work in this country every single day, caring for our children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. It is imperative that the domestic workforce be given the chance to step out of the shadows and continue the work they do every day to make all work in this nation possible. The demand for these workers is growing and they represent an amazing opportunity to strengthen our economy and transform the way we care for ourselves and each other. Any comprehensive, successful immigration policy needs to expand opportunity for all rather than selectively applying our nation’s values.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL):

“I am concerned by the President’s unwillingness to accept significant enforcement triggers before current undocumented immigrants can apply for a green card. Without such triggers in place, enforcement systems will never be implemented and we will be back in just a few years dealing with millions of new undocumented people in our country. Furthermore, the President ignored the need for a modernized guest worker program that will ensure those who want to immigrate legally to meet our economy’s needs can do so in the future.  Finally, the President’s speech left the impression that he believes reforming immigration quickly is more important than reforming immigration right. A reform of our immigration laws is a consequential undertaking that deserves to be subjected to scrutiny and input from all involved.  I was encouraged by the President’s  explicit statement that people with temporary legal status won’t be eligible for ObamaCare. If in fact they were, the potential cost of reform would blow open another big, gaping hole in our federal budget and make the bill untenable.”

The following quotes can be attributed to members of the Evangelical Immigration Table. The table will keep pressure on Congress to pass broad reform in 2013, including via its “I Was a Stranger” immigration prayer challenge.

Stephan Bauman, President and CEO, World Relief:
“We commend the president for taking a courageous step to outline his vision for reform of our immigration laws.  For too long, a broken immigration system has led to broken people. We encourage the president to work with Congress in bipartisan fashion to ensure basic fairness and decency in any legislation put forward, including an earned pathway to eventual citizenship, strong support for family unity, and provisions that would facilitate the integration of immigrants into our society in partnership with the faith-based community. We look forward to working with the White House and Congress in coming months to ensure that immigration reform is passed.”

Rev. David Beckmann, President, Bread for the World:
“The proposals released this week are good first steps. However, while we address unauthorized immigration to the United States, we must also focus on the plight of all those in extreme poverty around the world. The Gospel of Matthew invites us to welcome strangers into our midst, saying, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ We must remember that the journey to the United States for jobs is often triggered by poverty, inequality, food insecurity, and a lack of economic opportunity in an immigrant’s home country.”

Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals:
“President Obama underscored the need for immigration reform today, and pledged to support the bipartisan initiatives already underway in the Congress. Now it is time to move from principles to specifics and from words to action. We pray that God will guide all of our leaders as they negotiate in good faith for an immigration reform bill that we can all support.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:
“I was present as President Obama laid out a comprehensive solution to America’s immigration crisis. His presentation serves as a reconciliatory prescription to a nation torn apart by this debate. I commend him for his courage and call upon all the followers of Christ to pray for our president and Congress as together we marry conviction with compassion.”

Rev. Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition: 
“Hispanic Evangelicals are convinced that our nation can do immigration reform because we are a nation that knows how to work through its most contentious issues. It is the just and moral thing to do. Inaction is not an option. Immigration reform now!”

Wendy Tarr, Director, CLUE Orange County:
“We applaud members of Congress and the president for laying out a sensible and meaningful set of principles addressing the most fundamental challenges we face in reforming our nation’s immigration system. We will be praying for all of our nation’s leaders to join together in good faith to finally pass immigration reform that will result in the full integration of immigrants, who are already a part of our lives.”

Rev. Jim Wallis, President and CEO, Sojourners:
“The word of the week is ‘citizenship.’ With bipartisan principles from the Senate and the White House showing leadership, a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring citizens now seems more and more likely to be the greatest accomplishment of the 113th Congress and the second term of the Obama administration. This is the right thing for our economy, for our national security and for our country’s future. But above all, it is the morally right thing to do. No doubt opposition to change will be stiff. But Christians must follow Christ’s call in the 25th chapter of Matthew to ‘welcome the stranger.’ Now is the time for all of us to put our faith into action.”

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Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“President Obama today put forth a vision of immigration reform that is inclusive. Today, there are 11 million undocumented immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are forced to live in the shadows of society.

“Creating a clear pathway to citizenship will ensure better and brighter futures not just for them, but for our entire country. America wouldn’t be what it is today without the grit, guts, ingenuity, creativity and work ethic of millions of immigrants who have come to this country with a dream. These dreams built and have sustained America — from science and industry, to agriculture and domestic work, to commerce and innovation. The American dream dies when the dreamers are shut out.

“The president’s plan recognizes this, and also addresses the painful and unjust reality facing thousands of committed same-sex couples and their families. His support for ending discrimination against binational same-sex couples acknowledges the cruelty of forcing loving couples to live apart or live abroad; of making them choose between family and country.

“We thank the president and urge him to stand strong for the sound and fair principles he put forth today. We stand with immigration rights organizations and activists advocating for full and fair immigration reform for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. Respectful treatment of hardworking individuals and families is a most basic American value that we must uphold. Creating a path to citizenship is an LGBT issue.”


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