On January 29, 2013, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) joined Reps. Jose Serrano (NY-15) and Jerry Nadler (NY-10), several labor groups, community groups, clergy leaders, immigration reform advocates from various organizations and members of New York's immigrant community in Judson Memorial Church in lower Manhattan to declare a unified effort to pass comprehensive legislation that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants this year.
"This country was founded by immigrants that came in search of freedom, prosperity and a better life for their families while contributing to the fabric of this great nation economically and culturally," said Jeffries. "We must reform our broken immigration system and create a pathway toward citizenship for the millions of undocumented hardworking individuals who dream of becoming Americans. This is a matter of utmost urgency for the integrity of our democracy and must be addressed this year."
The event was held collaboratively by the New York Immigration Coalition and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement and launched the newly formed coalition, New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform, comprised of immigrant families, works, labor groups, community organization, clergy and civic leaders. Among other initiatives, the coalition is calling for complete overhaul that meets the needs of the economy, keeps families united, includes a fair path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country, and a reduction in visa backlogs. A day of national mobilization designed to galvanize support throughout the country was also announced yesterday and will be held on April 10, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
"The eighth congressional district is one of the most diverse in the nation. It includes many Caribbean-American, South Asian, Latino and Russian-speaking Jewish immigrants," said Jeffries. "As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I will do all I can to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform efforts in this Congress do not leave behind the hardworking immigrant families I represent in Brooklyn and Queens."
Yesterday, a bipartisan group in the Senate released their principles for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Today, President Obama is expected to make a policy speech in Las Vegas, Nevada supporting the Senate proposal and encouraging its swift passage.