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President Recommits to Administrative Relief after Elections, New Yorkers Say the Time to Act is Now

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President Recommits to Administrative Relief after Elections, New Yorkers Say the Time to Act is Now

Dozens of immigrants, family members, advocates, faith and union leaders representing New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform (NYRIR), a campaign coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition, held a press conference calling for President Obama to take immediate action and provide broad and bold administrative relief for millions of immigrants around the country. NYRIR members were joined by Congressman Charles Rangel in this urgent call.

In September, the White House announced that the President would delay administrative relief until after midterm elections. With elections now over, President Obama recommitted to providing administrative relief in a press conference at the White House. Advocates say that now - more than ever - immigrant communities are counting on the President to act. NYRIR members call for the President to implement broad administrative relief to stop unjust deportations and provide a temporary solution for millions of families and workers in this country, and vow to stand by the President given the complete inability of Congress to pass any immigration reform legislation.

“Yesterday we saw the President recommit to his promise to provide administrative relief for millions and for this we applaud him, but we need to see immediate results,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “By enacting bold and broad administrative relief, not only will the President keep his promise to immigrant communities, but he will be leading by example, demonstrating the positive impact of giving immigrant families a chance to live without fear, come out of the shadows and contribute to the economy in a meaningful way. Time is up, we call on the President to rise above the Congressional quagmire and redefine his legacy by acting executively on immigration.”

Congressman Charles Rangel joined NYRIR in the call for immediate action, saying, "There's nothing more tragic than the separation of families and loved ones. I'm proud to stand with leaders and advocates to urge action that can halt the record number of daily deportations that tear families and communities apart. In Congress, I will keep fighting for immigration reform that will help reunite families and create a pathway for citizenship for millions of people who call America their home. In this critical time, our constituents need immediate relief and I stand with them in this endeavor."

Affected immigrants, advocates, labor and faith leaders from across New York say they have been waiting long enough.

Top left: Congressman Charles Rangel speaks at NYRIR's press conference. Top right: Adriana Escandon, community organizer at NICE stands with NICE executive director Valeria Treves on behalf of immigrant workers in need of administrative relief. Botton left: NYIC executive director Steven Choi urges immediate action by the President. Bottom right: Make the Road NY member Irania Sanchez calls on the President to implement administrative relief .

“It is time for Obama to make a firm decision about the immigration situation for those of us who live in this country and especially for those who have been living here for long time,” said Genaro Vargas, a construction worker and member of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). “We need administrative relief. The President's executive action would prevent so much humiliation, abuse and bad treatment for us workers of this nation”

“It is up to the President to decide what his legacy will be. If he fails to take broader action and provide administrative relief, he is doomed to hold the legacy of the “Deporter-in-Chief,”” said Jung Rae Jang, DREAMer activist with MinKwon Center for Community Action. “I as a DREAMer and the proud son of my undocumented mother, urge the President to take a broad administrative relief that includes DREAMer parents. The President has the power to prevent family separation and the waiting must end now.”

32BJ and La Fuente member Eunice Mercedes said, “My husband came to this country from Africa as an immigrant. When his visa expired, my union helped us with the paperwork. But while we were lucky to have his status stabilized, many others don’t fare as well in our broken immigration system. With more than 2 million people deported under President Obama, both congress and the White House are responsible for the political inaction on immigration reform. Yesterday President Obama stood firm on the need for immigration reform. I hope his words match his actions, and he goes big on administrative relief. A lot is at stake for our families.”

“We’re encouraged by the President’s pledge yesterday to take action by the end of the year,” said Lenore Friedlander, assistant to the President at 32BJ. “Immigration reform is very important to 32BJ members and we will continue to take action in New York and across our union, working with our allies to ensure President Obama delivers on those promises as soon as possible. We won’t stand by and watch more workers get deported and more families torn apart.”

"As a United States citizen I always vote for my family. And I know that the thousands of Latinos that Make the Road New York spoke to on Tuesday do as well. The President made a promise, and the elections have shown that it is critically important for him to keep those promises and protect our families. Now is the time for administrative action to protect millions our neighbors and family members," Irania Sanchez, member of Make the Road New York from Bushwick, Brooklyn.

“The faith community has a simple and direct message to deliver to President Obama. Stop the deportations,” said Reverend Mark Hallinan of New York Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform. “Stop the violence these deportations inflict on wives, husbands, children and communities. Rekindle the hope you once embodied, Mr. President, and liberate our brothers and sisters from the slavery of fear in which they now live.”

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