LULAC Applauds Rep. Gutierrez for Taking the Lead on Immigration Reform Legislation

September 17, 2009

Lizette Jenness Olmos (202) 365-4553

WASHINGTON – Today, hundreds of immigrant leaders and representatives called upon Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to lead a strategy in the coming weeks that will get specific comprehensive immigration reform legislation introduced and moving through the halls of Congress. With the overwhelming support of communities across the country, Rep. Gutierrez agreed to do so at an event in Washington organized by the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (a network of pro-immigrant advocacy groups) as part of their Citizenship Day celebration.

Rep. Gutierrez played a pivotal role in the Familias Unidas interfaith tour earlier this year that introduced families separated from loved ones by our broken immigration system to his colleagues in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and House Democratic Leadership, and helped build compassion and support for immigration reform.

“The League of United Latin American Citizens is ready to support a bill that fixes our broken immigration system,” said Rosa Rosales, National President of LULAC. “We support Rep. Gutierrez and the entire Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ commitment to taking bold action to break through the drawn out stalemate on Capitol Hill.”

President Rosales expects Rep. Gutierrez’s efforts will lead to a progressive immigration bill, which she defined as having the following features:

  • A path to legal status and eventual citizenship for the current undocumented immigrant population.
  • Programs that keep American families together.
  • Allocation of sufficient visas to close unlawful migration channels.
  • Labor rights for immigrant and native-born workers.
  • Enforcement measures that enhance our nation’s security and safety while reflecting American values.
  • A commitment to assisting immigrant integration.
  • Protection of fundamental rights for all.

“We are confident that if we can get legislation moving, we can win just and fair immigration reform,” President Rosales stated. “It will take leadership and a sense of urgency, and Rep. Gutierrez and the CHC had the courage to stand up and tell the stories of our separated families at a time when people weren’t listening. Now they are stepping up to the plate again in Congress to rally around a comprehensive immigration reform bill. We hope members of all state delegations join in them in making the passage of an immigration bill a top priority.”

While a great deal of attention has been on health care reform – and rightly so – the urgent need for immigration reform has not diminished. If anything, the acrimony, deception and scapegoating of immigrants in the health care debate has underscored the need for a comprehensive immigration solution. Immigrants, faith leaders, businesses, labor unions, progressive groups, and a broad coalition across the political spectrum want the broken immigration system fixed now.

“We need smart, sensible, and humane solutions to the issues facing all of our communities, including immigrants,” insisted President Rosales. “We take citizenship very seriously and want to help shape the direction of our nation.”

The Mission of the League of United Latin American Citizens is to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States.

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