National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Blog & Updates

The Campaign to Reform Immigration FOR America is Underway

June 04, 2009 - Posted by Ali Noorani

On June 1st, the Campaign to Reform Immigration FOR America launched in 44 cities and 20 states.  Over 220 organizations have endorsed the Campaign so far—labor organizations, businesses, community organizations and faith-based organizations—all committed to helping fix the broken immigration system in a way that restores stability, order, and responsibility. 


Today, nearly 800 organizers and leaders from faith, labor, business, and community groups in 41 states continue to meet in Washington in an immigration reform summit.  What are they asking for?


They want to replace the chaos of illegal immigration with the control and regulation of an orderly system.  They want minimum wage and labor standards to be effectively enforced, families to be reunited, all workers to be legal, and safer communities.  They want an end to an era of immigration irresponsibility, an era in which the system has been so broken that rules are widely ignored.


The Campaign to Reform Immigration FOR America is based on three elements:


First of all, America voted for change and for leaders to tackle and solve tough problems.  The broken immigration system is a symbol of Washington’s inability to face tough problems.  The Campaign is part of a resurgent “can-do” American spirit.  It’s time for leaders to tap in to that spirit and do what a majority of Americans want done—fix our immigration system. 


Second, the Campaign has a plan that represents a departure from years of failed attempts to enforce the unenforceable laws of our broken immigration system.  The Campaign has a plan that will work in the interests of the American people.  It is a plan that will bring our immigration system under control once and for all; establish order at the border; focus law enforcement resources on criminals, not workers and parents; and generate billions in new tax revenues. 


Third, and most importantly, fixing our immigration system will help fix our economy.  With so many workers vulnerable to economic uncertainty, it is critical that minimum wage and labor standards are effectively enforced; that all workers are able to work legally; that all employers and workers are paying their fair share of taxes; and that bad actor employers who violate laws are targeted for enforcement.  Legalizing workers will increase their wages, spending, and tax contributions, which will have benefits across the economy.


The organizers gathered in Washington today represent the core constituencies that will be engaged going forward—faith, labor, community, and business.  Organizing these constituencies, along with local elected officials, law enforcement and others will be key to winning the 279 votes we need for comprehensive immigration reform: 218 Representatives, 60 Senators and one President.


By working together, we can end this era of profound immigration irresponsibility.

Campaign launch press conference

Photo: Old and new allies joining the battle for immigration reform: Speakers for the June 3rd National Press Club kickoff of the Campaign to Reform Immigration FOR America. Left to Right:  Ben Jealous, President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO; Karen K. Narasaki, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center; John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress; Janet Murguia, President and CEO of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR); Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum; Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA); Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Jr., President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Eliseo Medina, Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU, also representing the Change to Win labor federation); Robert J. Dolibois, Executive Vice President of the American Nursery & Landscape Association (representing the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform).

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