Thousands rally for immigration reform; bill aims to keep families together

The New York Times reports today:

Thousands of immigrants came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a day of lobbying and an afternoon rally calling for comprehensive immigration reform. The event was timed to the unveiling of an immigration bill by Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois and the chairman of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“I am overwhelmed by the support of immigrant, faith-based and community-based organizations in urging me to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation. I look forward to joining them on Tuesday so that I can share with them more specifically the key principles that will form the basis of such a bill,” said Rep. Gutierrez.

“Families deserve better than this from our government,” said Peter Derezinski, a 17-year-old high school senior and a United States citizen whose father was deported to Poland in April 2008 after 18 years as a truck driver and an air-conditioning repairman in Chicago. “We need to fix our broken immigration system so our parents who have contributed to this nation’s economy in a positive way have a chance of reuniting with their children.”

“We simply cannot wait any longer for a bill that keeps our families together, protects our workers and allows a pathway to legalization for those who have earned it,” continued Rep. Gutierrez. “Saying immigration is a priority for this Administration or this Congress is not the same as seeing tangible action, and the longer we wait, the more every single piece of legislation we debate will be obstructed by our failure to pass comprehensive reform,” said Rep. Gutierrez.

“We need a bill that says if you come here to hurt our communities, we will not support you; but if you are here to work hard and to make a better life for your family, you will have the opportunity to earn your citizenship. We need a law that says it is un-American for a mother to be torn from her child, and it is unacceptable to undermine our workforce by driving the most vulnerable among us further into the shadows.”

“I believe the support base for this kind of compassionate and comprehensive legislation is strong and far reaching, and I believe the votes are there to pass it. I have always said that immigration reform will not be easy; but it is time we had a workable plan working its way through Congress that recognizes the vast contributions of immigrants to this country and that honors the American Dream,” said Rep. Gutierrez.

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