It has begun. The most respected voices on immigration, civil rights, labor, business, and faith joined forces today in an unparalleled call for comprehensive immigration reform.
Their message? We need a common-sense solution to our broken immigration system in 2009. At a press conference this morning Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP, Janet Murguia of NCLR, and Ali Noorani of National Immigration Forum were just a few of the national leaders on hand to launch a push for immigration reform. They aren’t alone. Hundreds of organizations from around the nation are joining with them this week in Washington DC for three days of activities to demonstrate their support.
Over 700 representatives from these organizations have traveled far and wide to talk to members of congress and encourage their local constituents to do the same with faxes, text messages and email.
In a statement released today Ali Noorani said, “The broken immigration system is a symbol of how Washington has been avoiding tough problems for too long. It’s time for leaders to do what a majority of Americans want done – fix our immigration system.”
He’s right. 60% of Americans support fixing the immigration system. It has become increasingly clear that deporting 12 million living, breathing, integral members of our American communities is not only unrealistic, but detrimental to America’s economy and moral fiber. Americans historically stand by immigrants in their quest for work and civil advancement. They are weary of the growing underclass flourishing under our immigration system and what it means for America as a world leader. Government agencies are straining under the weight of a system that leaves people in limbo for years awaiting documentation. We cannot afford to let this historic opportunity pass us by. Now is the time for reform.
“It’s our collective challenge and responsibility to develop and advocate for common-sense immigration reform,” said John Podesta, President and CEO of Center for American Progress.
The calls for change are getting louder, and more urgent. Americans from small town meat-packing communities to vibrant urban neighborhoods know this already. Let’s make sure Congress and President Obama get the message too.