U.S. Representatives David N. Cicilline (D-RI) and Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), both members of the influential House Judiciary Committee, joined U.S. Senator Jack Reed, state and local leaders, and immigration reform advocates at the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Providence to rally for comprehensive immigration reform and call on Congress to enact this important legislation.
"I am honored to have Congressman Gutiérrez here to help rally Rhode Islanders around comprehensive immigration reform," said Cicilline, who, earlier this week, was elected to serve on the House Judiciary Committee, which helps oversee federal immigration policy. "Fixing our broken immigration system is not just an investment in individuals, but also our economy and global competitiveness. I look forward to working with Congressman Gutiérrez on the Judiciary Committee to help get immigration reform legislation a vote and signed into law."
Congressman Gutiérrez, who is a lead negotiator in the U.S. House of Representatives on a bipartisan immigration reform bill and Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, traveled to Rhode Island at Cicilline's request. Over the past several years, Gutiérrez has visited dozens of states across the country as part of his ongoing effort to build public support for immigration reform legislation in Congress.
"I think we have a realistic chance to legalize undocumented immigrants, put millions on a path to citizenship, stop the deportations that are brutalizing immigrant communities, and restore legal immigration if we work together in a bipartisan fashion in Washington," said Rep Gutiérrez, who like Cicilline is a Member of the House Judiciary Committee that has jurisdiction over immigration and border security issues. "Families, businesses, and communities in Rhode Island deserve a functioning, legal and enforceable immigration system and I think Congress and the President will get a bill signed this year."
"I have long been an advocate for smart, fair, workable immigration reform. The Senate has done its part by passing comprehensive immigration reform with a strong, bipartisan vote on a bill that fixes our broken immigration system, boosts our economy, and helps our communities. Now it is time for the U.S. House of Representatives to act," said Reed.
"As we continue to work to strengthen our economy and remain competitive on the global stage, passing comprehensive immigration reform is an important piece of the puzzle. Not only would reform help raise tax revenue and create jobs, it would help the business community close the skills gap. We need to ensure our country is employing the best and the brightest, and that means investing in education, workforce development, and reforming the immigration system to provide greater opportunities for companies to hire skilled foreign workers," said Laurie White, President of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.
"Comprehensive Immigration Reform is long overdue. It is necessary to demonstrate our respect for the hard working people that are part of our society and our economy. It is the right thing to do for a sound economic development policy and for a just and fair society," said George Nee, President of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO.
Mario Bueno, the Executive Director of Progreso Latino, a non-profit, community based organization that serves Latinos and immigrants in Rhode Island stated: "Immigration reform is long overdue. Families continue to be divided and suffer unnecessary hardships in their journey towards achieving the American dream. We need forward looking immigration policies that not only provide a stop-gap-solution but will address the needs of future generations of immigrants.
Last summer, the U.S. Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation to grow our economy, provide a path to citizenship for millions of deserving immigrants, and secure our borders. Cicilline is an original co-sponsor of similar legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that over the next 10 years this bill would promote job creation and wage increases, cut the deficit by nearly $158 billion, and increase America's GDP by over $800 billion. Congressman Gutiérrez is also a co-sponsor.