Friday, February 1, 2013

Immigration Reform Gets Support

Three days before President Obama addressed immigration, Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Jim Himes pledged their support for comprehensive reform at a community round table in Bridgeport hosted by Connecticut Students for a DREAM.

The "Immigration Reform: The Time is now!" event held at the United Congregational Church was also attended by State Senator Ayala and scores of community leaders and families.

"Telling your personal stories will change minds and you will change hearts," said Himes adding that the entire Connecticut delegation supports "the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship."

The Dreamers emphasized that they will hold all elected officials accountable "not just to push for legislation for undocumented youth, but for all 11 million undocumented immigrants."

They said, "We won’t stop fighting until we win a roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million of us."

Murphy replied that "we're closer than ever to getting this done, because of the political power represented in packed rooms like this all across the country." He also warned against half-measures that create "a subclass of semi-documented immigrants."

Alberto Bernardez of SEIU 32BJ emphasized that comprehensive reform helps the whole economy. "We will get rid of the underground economy that drags everybody down," he said.

Sen. Blumenthal pledged to "continue working for a strong bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform plan including the Dream Act with the support of groups like Connecticut Students for a DREAM."

Requesting that Blumenthal intervene to stop his deportation, Josemaria Islas, told how he had been wrongfully arrested during a lunch break from work in Hamden, but after being acquitted was apprehended and detained by ICE under the federal Secure Communities.

"Josemaria has never been in trouble with the law. For eight years, he held a steady job and supported his family. ICE still wants to depart him," said John Jairo Lugo of Unidad Latina en Accion. The case has attracted widespread support.

Connecticut Students for a DREAM thanked everyone for participating and concluded, "Connecticut CAN provide leadership on immigration reform and if we work together, it CAN happen this year,"

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