Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
Press Contact:
Thanu Yakupitiyage; New York Immigration Coalition
tyaku@thenyic.org; Office: 212-627-2227 x235; Cell: 413-687-5160


Video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Campaign for Immigration Reform Intensifies as Immigrant Groups Launch ‘Remember November’ Campaign


Across Country, Groups Will Hold Voter Registration Drives, Town Halls and Meetings with Members of Congress
(New York, New York)-  Today, on the steps of City Hall in New York City, New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform, a statewide coalition of 150 business, labor, faith and grassroots organizations coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition, held a press conference to launch ‘Remember November,’ a series of actions in the next phase to pass immigration reform.  The campaign was joined by Congressman José Serrano, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and longstanding advocate for immigration reform.
During the current congressional recess, participating groups in the New York campaign will hold 19 Remember November events across the state, joining with advocacy groups in 30 states that will hold more than 100 voter registration rallies, town hall meetings, marches and congressional visits. The goal is to amp up the pressure on Congress to fix the nation’s broken immigration system and provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
Among the 19 events organized by the New York campaign will be a protest this evening at a fundraiser featuring Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. He has been a vocal opponent of a path to citizenship and voted against the Senate immigration bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. The bill ultimately passed out of Committee with bipartisan support and is expected to reach the Senate floor for a vote in early June.
At the press conference, Congressman Serrano, together with Latino and immigrant leaders from New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform, urged opponents of a path to citizenship to “Remember November” and stressed that voters would hold accountable those who delay immediate action on reform. 
“After years of delay and a decisive election where the American people spoke clearly, it is time for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “Families cannot continue to be broken apart while anti-immigrant forces try to defeat the bill. The time is now to move forward and help people live a life free of the fear of deportation; a life with a clear future that includes full citizenship.”
“Last November, Latino, Asian, and immigrant communities voted in record numbers. We have waited for seven months and are here today to say the time has come for Congress to deliver on immigration reform,”  said Guillermo Chacon, member of the executive committee of the board of directors of the New York Immigration Coalition and executive director of the Latino Commission on AIDS. “We are pleased that the Senate is acting on immigration reform, but we must now see meaningful action from the House of Representatives.  Immigrant communities are fighting to keep their families together, and they will not forgive or forget those who stood in the way of measures that would end the separation of immigrant families.”
“As national momentum for real immigration reform grows stronger by the day, lawmakers in Washington D.C. need to know that millions of immigrant voters across the country are playing close attention.  This defining issue will serve as a litmus test for voters as they decide who has upheld this country’s economic and moral values and who they will hold accountable for failed leadership.” said Milan Bhatt, co-executive director, Worker Justice Center of NY.
"Millions of American voters of Russian and other Slavic and East European origins, together with Latinos, Asians, and other Americans from all walks of life, are looking forward to a timely passage of a just and humane, truly comprehensive, and bipartisan immigration reform bill by the U.S. Congress,” said Dmitri Daniel Glinski, president & CEO, Russian-Speaking Community Council of Manhattan & the Bronx, Inc. “We are proud and grateful that the Senators representing the states where most of us live and vote have shown true leadership in the drafting and the markup of a bill that, on the whole, meets the hopes of many millions of hard-working, law-abiding immigrants and the needs of our country.  We urge the House of Representatives to do its part. Our communities will judge their representatives at the polls based on their contribution to a reform package that provides a realistic path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, strengthens equal opportunity and anti-discrimination in the workplace, and creates institutions to promote immigrant integration that are representative of the richness and diversity of all our communities."
“Today, our campaign for real immigration reform sends a message to Congress to remember November.  Remember the record number of immigrant voters who turned out last November to break the political gridlock in DC and revive the momentum for immigration reform,” said S.J. Jung, president of the MinKwon Center for Community Action. “With the ever-increasing power of the immigrant electorate, we will continue to push for real immigration reform that keeps families together.  We are troubled to see that the Senate bill eliminates the rights of U.S. citizens to sponsor their siblings and older adult children. These are among the most popular and backlogged family visa categories, with the Philippines and Mexico having the longest waits. Elimination of these categories adversely impacts immigrants of all ethnicities, as well as Americans.  By keeping families together, immigration reform will put our nation firmly on a path of prosperity and security for all.”
"As voters and as people of conscience, we ask Congress to remember all of the families victim to a broken immigration system; we ask Congress to remember their commitment to uphold our nation’s values of fairness; and we ask Congress to remember that we are mobilizing, we are organizing and we are watching the immigration debate very closely," said Faiza Ali, advocacy & civic engagement coordinator at Arab American Association of NY. "We will not forget those who stand for policies that continue to tear families apart and disregard our rights." 
"Immigration policies are a major concern for the Asian American community.  Two out of three Asian Americans who voted in the November 2012 elections favor comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the undocumented,” Mae Lee, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association. “In the past few years, the number of Asian New Yorkers who are eligible to vote has grown 53%. We will be working to register new voters in our community so that we can join all New Yorkers to exercise our right to vote this fall and in years to come."
“The passage of the immigration bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee gives us hope for the future of comprehensive immigration reform. The bill is a compromise, but this is a compromise that is worth protecting,” said Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel, Latino Justice. “We have spent decades building up the people power and support for comprehensive immigration reform and we will continue to mobilize our communities, hold the line, and hold Congress accountable to pass the strongest and most inclusive bill possible. We want them to know that we are watching and that we will remember November as we move this bill forward.”
“Latino and immigrant communities voted in unprecedented numbers last November to keep families together and fix our broken immigration system. This is our number one priority and we want to work with leaders in Congress that will stand up and act for family unity and a path to citizenship for all,” said Javier Valdes, co-executive director of Make the Road NY
“Immigrant communities and our allies are organizing to have an even stronger impact on the upcoming elections,” said Gonzalo Mercado, executive director of El Centro del Inmigrante. “As we get closer to making the passage of immigration reform a reality, we call on everyone to remember the impact that immigrants made last November.” 
Click HERE for a list of local events happening across New York.


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