Saturday, May 17, 2014

Holding Immigration Reform Vote Hostage

Latino and Immigrant Leaders Protest Mike Coffman, John Boehner and Eric Cantor at Denver Fundraiser for Holding 
Immigration Reform Vote Hostage

DENVER, CO (PR) – Outside a fundraiser headlined by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) for Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) today, local leaders staged a rally to protest the fact that these three House Republicans are key obstacles standing in the way of immigration reform that would keep Colorado immigrant families together. It has been 322 days since the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill, but Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have refused to take up that bill or an immigration reform plan of their own.

“As a longtime voter in Congressional District 6, I’m disappointed in the lack of leadership from Mike Coffman and Republicans in charge of the House. They talk and talk about immigration reform at the same time that they are actively blocking a vote on legislation that would help thousands of Colorado families,” said Rebecca Torres, Executive board member and SEIU Local 105 member. “We won’t forget their hypocrisy when we go to the polls this November.”

Representatives like Mike Coffman, who come from diverse districts where many would benefit from this legislation have the obligation to push their party to make reform happen. Today, local leaders made clear to voters in CD-6 that Mike Coffman may have said he supports reform, but he has refused to act and is actively blocking the passage of immigration reform.

And as Diane Pritchard, another CD-6 voter and leader with Together Colorado Action, emphasized, in addition to the political imperative, Republicans also have a moral obligation to address immigration reform. “The broken immigration system is tearing apart our immigrant families.  The Republican House leadership and Congressman Coffman have not done anything to move reform forward.  Mike Coffman’s constituents want a vote on immigration reform.”

"The message is clear. Voters will remember in November if the Republican leadership and Congressman Coffman continue to block and prevent a vote on immigration reform in the House," said Julien Ross, Executive Director of CIRC Action Fund, Colorado's statewide immigrant advocacy organization. "The stakes are simply too high and too urgent for Colorado families facing separation, and for Colorado's economy that is dependent on immigration reform for continued prosperity."

As House Republicans continue to obstruct a vote, their Party only moves closer to the edge of the “demographic cliff” that will ruin their chance with Latino, Asian and immigrant voters for years to come.  As activists reminded Coffman today, saying nice things about immigration is not enough.  He needs a real legislative victory to take home to voters if he wants his party to survive.

“Quite simply, the House needs to generate a legislative proposal that addresses the status, legalization and earned citizenship process of the close to 11 million undocumented immigrants in America and with the growing Latino population in Colorado. Rep. Coffman needs to be one of those leaders in the House,” said Carla Castedo, Mi Familia Vota State Director.

“If Mike Coffman thinks he can just say some nice things about immigration reform, but then refuse to support the actual legislation, he should think again.” said Patty Kupfer, Managing Director of America’s Voice. “The window for action from Republicans is closing and John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Mike Coffman will all share in the blame if they block reform. Do they really want to taint their party once and for all with the fastest growing group of voters in the state and the country?”

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