Local Civil, Immigrants and Labor Rights Groups Announce Coalition to Support President’s Immigration plan
Saint Paul, MN – Civil, immigrants, and labor rights leaders representing a broad range of Minnesotans gathered today at the State Capitol to unveil a Minnesota mobilization campaign to support commonsense immigration reform. This comes just a day after President Obama announced his plan for immigration reform.
“We are a nation of immigrants who all do our part to contribute,” said Mitch Azarcon, who is from the Philippines and a member of SEIU Healthcare MN. “I am a surgical tech. My brother is a nursing assistant. My sister just graduated from college and is in her first job. Our country is better for having hardworking immigrants as contributing members of our communities. Young people especially, like the DREAMERS, have a lot to contribute and we should give them the chance to fulfill their full potential. The time to do immigration reform is now. I am ready now. Our communities are ready now. So we will start organizing for action now.”
Congressman Keith Ellison, who was unable to attend today’s press conference due to illness, released the following statement in his support of the coalition.
“America was founded on the idea of liberty and justice for all. Just like today’s immigrants, our founders came to America to escape oppression and ensure opportunity for their children. It’s long past due our laws live up to our values. The President yesterday laid out a vision for an America that continues to be a beacon of hope for those aspiring to a better life.”
The local leaders join leaders from across the country in calling on Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform in 2013. These plans include contacting lawmakers and holding rallies in April, leading up to a mass demonstration on April 10 at the U.S. Capitol, where tens of thousands of marchers will gather.
“Now, more than ever, there is momentum for commonsense immigration reform, a complete overhaul of a system that does not work. There is no time for partisan games; the American people want and deserve a real and lasting solution. We will hold lawmakers accountable as we work to make immigration reform a reality this year,” said Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26.
“When I was nine, my younger brother and I embarked on a journey to Minnesota – we did not yet know what it meant to be crossing a border illegally,” said Uriel Rosales, a DREAMER and Executive Director for Navigate. “At that time, riding a bus for hours, and flying on a plane for the first time was an adventure. Borders were irrelevant to our spirit.
“Yesterday, as I watched President Obama give details about Commensense Immigration Reform, I thought that it has been a long time coming,” continued Rosales. “I am happy I had not lost hope, not just to see myself benefit as I graduate from the University of Minnesota being able to follow and work in my future profession as an educator, but to know that now my mother will have a chance to walk alongside me, no longer undocumented, and completely unafraid.”
National polls demonstrate an across-the-aisle support for a real and lasting solution to repair the country’s immigration system. As immigration reform rises to the top of the Obama Administration’s legislative agenda, 2013 is undoubtedly the year for Congress to pass a commonsense immigration reform with a clear roadmap to citizenship.
“My son, Salif, is becoming a man, but he is not here with me,” said Brakim Kone, who is from the Ivory Coast and a member of SEIU Local 26. “I cannot teach him. I cannot pass on my values and experiences as a man. This is why immigration reform is import. Families need to be together. There was a war in the Ivory Coast and children were separated from their parents. I look around here and there is no war. But I am still separated from my son, separated from my family.”
Representatives of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Asambelas de Derechos Civiles, Centro Campesino, ISAIAH, Latino Communications Network, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, SEIU MN State Council, UFCW Local 1189, UNITE-HERE Local 17, Minnesota AFL-CIO, Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, Jewish Community Action, and the Minnesota Catholic Conference were also in attendance.