Diverse Coalition of National Groups Unite to Demand Immigration Reform with a Pathway to Citizenship

Apr 15, 2013, 13:28 ET from Voto Latino

Constituencies represented in the new "I'm Ready for Immigration Reform" coalition include African Americans and Blacks, Asians and Pacific Islanders, businesses, entertainment, labor, Latinos, LGBTQ, Silicon Valley and young Americans.

WASHINGTON, April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Voto Latino announced the coalition for the "I'm Ready for Immigration Reform" campaign, made up of national organizations and prominent voices that are demanding comprehensive immigration reform with a sensible pathway to citizenship. A diverse group of constituencies are represented in the new coalition all of which are directly impacted by the nation's outdated system.

The "I'm Ready" coalition is comprised of Voto Latino's Co-Founder Rosario Dawson; "I'm Ready" campaign Co-Chairs and actors, Wilmer Valderrama and America Ferrera; AFL-CIO; Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance/Institute for Asian Pacific American Leadership & Advancement (APALA); League of Young Voters; Human Rights Campaign (HRC); March for Innovation campaign; NAACP; New America Alliance; Nonprofit VOTE; Rock the Vote; United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC); and Voto Latino, among others.

"We've come together in one voice knowing our nation's flawed immigration system is an American issue that impacts communities of all backgrounds and groups that operate in all sectors of America," said Maria del Pilar Avila, CEO, New America Alliance. "The United States needs an immigration system that works for everyone. As a nation of immigrants, we hope Congress passes legislation that will be inclusive, welcoming the 11 million diverse and undocumented immigrants who are ready to be integral parts of the American fabric."

Coalition members, many of whom have their own immigration-focused campaigns, will leverage each other's efforts to galvanize Americans of all backgrounds in support of a sensible pathway to citizenship.

"We are heartened to hear groups of legislators in both chambers of Congress continue to hash out bipartisan deals," said Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO, Voto Latino. "However, we want to make one thing clear to these legislators: Anything short of a sensible pathway to citizenship will lead to a system that creates two sets of Americans - citizens and permanent second class. That's something we will not accept."

"Our cause is citizenship and our commitment is total. The labor movement relishes the chance over the next few months to continue to mobilize on behalf of an immigration reform bill as compassionate and constructive as our country deserves," said Richard Trumka, President, AFL-CIO.

"APALA is ready to reform immigration and stand for equality. We are proud to join this diverse coalition to amplify the united voices of community and labor in advancing worker, immigrant and civil rights," stated Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance/Institute for Asian Pacific American Leadership & Advancement Executive Director Gregory Cendana. "Asian Pacific Americans are deeply impacted with more than 1.5 million aspiring citizens, thousands of exploited and abused workers brought to the U.S. from Asian countries and 2 million people waiting to reunite with their families. We demand a fair and inclusive road map to citizenship without border triggers, full rights and protection for all workers, and respect for family unity."

"The immigration system is in desperate need of reform and that reform must include LGBT immigrants and families," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Comprehensive immigration reform is about protecting those who are vulnerable and living in the shadows."

"It is time to insist on common sense solutions to this crisis, solutions that uphold and protect the values of our great nation," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.  "And to those who have insisted that we keep the status quo, or who would stop short of a full pathway to citizenship, it is time now for you to move out of the way. In America there will be no second class families."

"We live in a talent economy, but our immigration laws stand in the way of maximizing the talent we have," said Jeremy Robbins, Director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, March for Innovation campaign. "Comprehensive immigration reform will ensure that we better attract, retain, and capitalize on the hard working individuals we need to compete in the global economy."

"Nearly 7 in 10 voters under 30 support immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship, according to the 2012 National Exit Polls. Today we proudly stand with those young voters - and our partners at Voto Latino - in calling on our legislators from both sides of the aisle to reform our broken immigration system," says Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote.

To learn more about Voto Latino's "I'm Ready" campaign, visit www.ImReadyFor.com or www.VotoLatino.org. Voto Latino can also be found on Facebook at www.fb.com/VotoLatino and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VotoLatino.

SOURCE Voto Latino