Mass. Advocates Welcome Senate Blueprint for Immigration Reform

Bi-Partisan blueprint from eight senators marks opening for passage of reform this year

January 28, 2013 BOSTON —Immigrant advocates and allies in Massachusetts today welcomed the release of a major legislative blueprint for immigration reform that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Published by the New York Times, the "Bipartisan Framework for Immigration Reform" was crafted by Democratic Senators Schumer, Durbin,  Menendez, and Bennet and Republican Senators Rubio, Graham, Lindsey and Flake.

"This marks the most positive step toward the passage of real immigration reform to date," said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. "We commend the senators from both sides of the aisle for coming together and recognizing the fundamental need to create a road map to citizenship for the 11 million men, women and children currently living in the shadows."

"Much discussion about these principles still lies ahead," Ms. Millona continued. "We need to ensure a sensible and humane time frame for legalization, for example, and to recognize that border enforcement has already increased exponentially over the years. But the important point today is that this blueprint represents real movement forward. We eagerly await President Obama's proposal tomorrow, and believe that the two blueprints should jointly provide a workable framework for a bill that can pass Congress."

Other advocates amplified those sentiments. "There are thousands of immigrant children here in Massachusetts that live every day in fear of losing one or both parents to deportation, and millions more like them across the United States," said Alice Kidder, Interim Executive Director of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM). "The proposed reform would fundamentally respect the moral sanctity of those families, and we call on people of all faiths to support it as a blueprint for healing, unity and economic progress."

"This blueprint is a major development," said Natalicia Tracy, Executive Director of the Brazilian Immigrant Center (BIC). "People are very excited in our community about the prospect for reform. This weekend, BIC will travel to Washington with some affected members of our community to examine the proposal more closely and discuss with immigrants from around the nation what we need to see in a proposal. But there is no doubt that the recognition of a path to legalization by members of both parties is a crucial step forward."

"We are very encouraged by the bipartisan effort now emerging in Congress to address our dysfunctional immigration system in a comprehensive way," said Sister Lena Deevy, Executive Director of the Irish International Immigrant Center.  "We also are heartened to see that President Obama's Administration now is giving this issue the priority it deserves.  In particular, we look forward to a solution that at long last will give our undocumented neighbors a chance to participate fully and freely in our society."

"The news of this blueprint is simply awesome," said Molly Baldwin, founder and Executive Director of Roca, Inc. "Reform  is long overdue — at Roca, we have seen too many young people and their families hurt by the immigration system over the years. It's extremely heartening that this first major step toward reform is a joint one."