Immigration Reform

June 1, 2009 10:23:53 PM PDT
A national effort is underway ... pushing for immigration reform. Community, faith, labor and business leaders came together in Fresno to present a united voice on what they call a 'common-sense solution' to America's broken immigration system.Forty gatherings took place Monday across the country, as a coalition of community groups get ready to launch a new campaign ... "Reform Immigration for America."

Father Mike McAndrew said, "Immigration reform defies real solutions, but together we can all overcome our adversity."

The group spearheaded locally by the United Farm Workers Foundation wants to present a united front to the president and congress on immigration reform.

Diana Tellefson said, "This is an exciting year. There is a lot of hope that this is an issue that is going to be a priority with the new administration."

They've come up with a list of principles to guide policy makers that includes:

  • Improving the economic situation of all workers in the United States
  • Legalizing the status of undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S.
  • Reforming Visa programs to keep families together
  • Protecting worker's rights
  • Ensuring that future immigration is legal and controlled
UFW President Arturo Rodriguez said, "Very soon we will have 60 democratic senators in the U.S. Senate, that is something we have never had before in recent years ... that will give us an opportunity to have a vote there."

The group is feeling optimistic. They see an ally in President Obama and have recently formed a new and important partnership.

"The American Labor Movement came together just recently and decided on a framework and a unified position for immigration reform in the U.S. That is something that we have not had throughout the years in this immigration battle," said Rodriguez.

The group sited no specific timeline of when they hope to see an immigration reform bill in place-- but say they would like the discussions to begin next week when President Obama is scheduled to meet with congressional leaders.

"We urge President Obama, Congress and the Senate to make immigration reform a reality now not later ... this problem has been put off for too long and continued delay is doing harm to this great nation," said Father McAndrew.

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