Statements from participants are below:
Rep. Gutierrez: “It makes no sense to deport people with deep roots in the U.S. by the thousands with one hand and pledge your support for immigration reform with the other. If the President is serious about immigration reform, he should stop deporting the parents of U.S. citizens and DACA recipients and other hardworking people who should have the opportunity earn legal status in the coming years. Any Democrat or Republican in Congress serious about immigration reform should support such an action.”
“Comprehensive immigration reform is a moral and economic necessity,” Congresswoman Titus said. “Congress is finally doing the work that needs to be done to improve our immigration system, but until that work is completed, we must suspend deportations and stop Southern Nevada families and communities across the country from being unnecessarily divided. I was proud to join my colleagues today to call on the President to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to DREAMers’ mothers and fathers and the rest of the undocumented, but otherwise law-abiding individuals who call this country home.”
Rep. Schakowsky: “I strongly support suspending deportations for those who would be entitled to eventual citizenship under the immigration bill currently being debated. We must keep families together and the time is now for comprehensive immigration reform.”
Today, we have before us a test of our commitment to equality – the effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform. We have a responsibility to allow millions of immigrants, those who are here already and those who want to enter the United States in pursuit of the American Dream, to participate in our civil society. As Congress prepares to vote on comprehensive immigration reform, we cannot continue the deportation of people from every community in this nation who will become eligible to remain in the United States after the enactment of this proposal. – Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (NY-9)
Rep. Jackson Lee: “I call on my Republican colleagues in Congress to start working with Democrats on this issue of Immigration Reform, so we can achieve the comprehensive immigration reform this country needs. We gain strength from our newest citizens, and passing comprehensive immigration reform will ensure that America keeps growing stronger. Our immigration system is broken, and we must fix it. As the Senate makes progress with the current bill, I hope Members of Congress unite together so that millions will have an opportunity to the American Dream. I am proud to stand with Congressman Gutierrez and the #NOT1MORE campaign, and I will continue the fight for the rights of immigrants in Texas and across these great United States.
Rep. Cardenas: “Forcibly uprooting people who were brought here through no fault of their own, who simply want to live the American Dream, is a terrible policy. I was proud to vote last week against a conservative amendment that would reverse the President’s protection of DREAMers. This country was built on the backs of immigrants. A new generation, who have crossed our borders have the same dreams as those who once saw the Statue of Liberty as the beginning of a new life. They simply want to build a home for their families, where they can strive for excellence in a land of freedom. They should have that chance.”
Rep. Honda: “Throughout our nation’s history, immigrants have come to our shores with the hope of building a better life for their families and themselves. And yet for too long our broken immigration system has kept families apart and in the shadows. As the long-awaited immigration debate finally gets underway with my colleagues in the Senate, we must fight for a comprehensive and compassionate system that begins today. Policymakers must seek to find a thoughtful path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in our country, and as chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I will fight to stop separating families and deporting individuals who would be our future citizens. We must give this immigration debate a chance to move forward humanely.”
Lorella Praeli, Director of advocacy and policy for United We Dream: “Yesterday, fellow DREAMers and leaders with the United We Dream network embarked on a heartbreaking but powerful journey to reunite with their parents, who were separated from them by our country’s senseless deportation policy, albeit briefly and through the border fence. Our broken system pulls and keeps families apart. DREAMers are fighting for an end to deportations not only for immigrant youth, but also for our parents and the rest of our community. No other child should experience what United We Dream leader Evelyn Rivera, a Floridian DREAMer, experienced when her mom was detained and deported. Every family should be kept together or reunited.”
Ana Avendaño Assistant to the President and Director of Immigration and Community Action of the AFL-CIO : “Tearing apart families and communities with continued deportations of people who are American in every way but on paper is always tragic, but it is particularly painful with the establishment of an actual roadmap to citizenship so close. We call upon President Obama to keep America united and pause deporting future citizens while Congress proceeds with the creation of a long overdue roadmap to citizenship.”
“It is in no one’s interests to remove any person who is potentially eligible, under legislation being actively considered in Congress, to proceed on the road to citizenship. It is a waste of government resources and a needless blow to our economy and society,” – Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF.
Pablo Alvarado, executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network: “The President must lead by example on immigration reform. Actions speak louder than words. The bi-partisan Senate framework provides a perfect opportunity for the President to galvanize a national consensus. Suspending deportations would help to ensure a productive debate in Congress.”
The press conference caps a week of events being held at detention centers and ICE offices around the country commemorating Father’s Day and calling on the President to cease deportations.