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Contact: First Focus
Phone: 202-657-0670

Thousands Gather for Immigration Reform that Keeps Families Together

Children of Immigrants

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, religious leaders, pro-immigrant advocates, their allies, and other champions for reform have come together for an unprecedented “day of action” on Capitol Hill. These leaders of the immigration reform movement are joining with families separated by current immigration policies to tell Congress that immigration reform is an urgent issue that cannot wait. Representative Luis Gutierrez (Ill.) plans to introduce his principles for comprehensive immigration reform.

First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, is participating in the event, joining in the call to “Reform Immigration to Keep Families Together.” President Bruce Lesley released the following statement:

“As a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, we see the ramifications of our broken immigration system every day. Family separation is detrimental to both the physical and mental health of any child. And children of immigrants comprise one-fifth of all U.S. children and are the fastest growing child population in this country. Therefore, it is paramount that our nation, founded by immigrants, enacts reforms to immigration laws that promote family unity.

“Each day we delay comprehensive immigration reform is another day children and families pay the price on an array of health care and education issues, as well as through lost economic opportunities. Even more disturbing than these inequities are inhumane enforcement measures that are tearing families apart.

“Over the past several years, the number of enforcement activities and deportations has skyrocketed. These actions separate innocent children from their parents, and foster the continuation of a broken immigration system where endless ‘backlogs’ keep family members separated for decades. Indeed, an immigration policy that keeps families together is crucial to the well-being of children of immigrants and, ultimately, to the well-being of our country as a whole.

“Congressman Luis Gutierrez should be lauded for his leadership in announcing principles around which his important immigration reform legislation will be drafted. We support his efforts as well as the thousands of families and advocates from around the country who have gathered to make their voices heard on behalf of the American family.”

Approximately 3,000 advocates attended the event from across the country. Buses made stops along the way at events designed to raise awareness of the need for immigration reform.