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Congressmen, Civil Rights Leaders Urge Obama to Deliver Immigration Reform

By Suada Kolovic and Julianna Parlock

Feature 349 The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) hosted a press conference, on August 3, to introduce a letter calling on President Barack Obama to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform this year. U.S. Representatives Luis V. Gutierrez, Danny K. Davis, and Mike Quigley announced that seven members of the Illinois delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives have already signed on. These seven signatories make up more than half of the twelve Democratic members of the House delegation.

The letter assures that the “comprehensive approach will not only secure our borders, level the playing field for workers, and stop dishonest employers from gaining an unfair advantage, but will bring in critical revenue by integrating more people into the economy as workers, taxpayers, and consumers.”

Representatives Bobby Rush, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Jan Schakowsky, and Phil Hare also signed the letter, joining immigrant rights activists in urging renewed efforts for immigration reform.

“It is time for the President to take on reform – this year,” said Representative Gutierrez. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get started on changes that stabilize our economy, secure our borders and keep our families together.”

The Congressmen were joined by local civil rights activists including CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, ICIRR Executive Director Joshua Hoyt, the President of the Chinese American Service League, Bernie Wong, and Bill Lawless of the Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform.

The Congressmen’s letter urges President Obama to build on the momentum generated by his June 25 White House meeting regarding immigration reform. It reiterates that “other options-maintaining the status quo or trying to force 12 million illegal immigrants to leave the country- are neither viable nor desirable.

“Immigration needs to be dealt with now,” said Representative Davis. “I strongly support a comprehensive reform of our immigration system without further delay.”

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