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On the Senate Democratic Leadership’s Immigration Reform Framework

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Norman Eng,  Main Phone: 212-627-2227 x235, 
New York City  (Thursday, April 29, 2010)

On the Senate Democratic Leadership’s Immigration Reform Framework

Following is a statement from Ms. Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition:

Today, the Senate Democratic leadership presented a comprehensive immigration reform plan. We are glad that the Senate is responding to immigrant communities’ call to action, particularly in the wake of Arizona’s ugly anti-immigrant law.

Now that we have a substantive Senate proposal on the table that builds on Representative Luis Gutierrez’s legislation in the House, we will work with the Senate, House, and White House to overcome the partisan logjam and pass a good bill this year.

On substance, while we are troubled by the expansion of problematic enforcement measures, including the biometric Social Security card and the lack of restoration of due process, we strongly support the inclusion of a path to citizenship for the undocumented and promising provisions on family immigration, detention, and worker protections.

We are deeply disappointed that, despite high expectations and hopes for bipartisan progress, Senator Lindsey Graham appears to be walking away from the work, and Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl have decided to hitch themselves to the anti-immigrant bandwagon, going so far as to support Arizona’s racist law SB 1070. We urge Republicans back to the negotiating table and demand that they stop playing politics with the lives of more than 12 million immigrant families.

Last week, we welcomed President Obama’s acknowledgment of how misguided the Arizona law is and how it resulted from the federal government’s abdication of responsibility for fixing our immigration system. Indeed, the President himself has abdicated responsibility, and immigrant communities feel anger and a sense of betrayal at his lack of action on this critical matter. We are looking to the President to play a leadership role in moving Congress forward and taking action immediately to stop the enforcement-only approach of his own administration and end the senseless deportations.

To the President and members of the House and Senate, please be assured that sitting on the sidelines will not provide you political cover. The 200,000 folks who gathered on the Mall in March—whose numbers have surely multiplied in the wake of Arizona—will see to that.

As we mobilize our communities again for May 1st, we invite all New Yorkers to join us to continue our movement forward for justice.

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