For Immediate Release

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Marjorie Valbrun
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President Obama Issues Challenge on Immigration Reform

Will Republicans Respond to The President's Call or Retreat to the Grip of the Nativists?

WASHINGTON - In his State of the Union address
last evening, President Obama made a strong plea for bipartisan action
on common sense immigration reform.  First he made a compelling case for
the DREAM Act, saying that it “makes no sense” to deport the “children
of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their
parents… grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag.”  He
also called on both parties to work with him on comprehensive
immigration reform to “protect our borders, enforce our laws and address
the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “In
the overall speech last night, President Obama captured the heart of
American exceptionalism and the can-do spirit that voters want to see in
Washington.  He staked out a centrist agenda that challenges both
parties to find common ground on solutions to some of this country’s
most important problems.  We are very pleased that the President
included immigration in that agenda, and join in his call for action
now.  With a strong majority of Democrats already on record supporting
the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, the Republican Party
has to decide whether it will work with the President and congressional
Democrats on a bipartisan solution, or continue to obstruct progress,
oppose the DREAM Act and comprehensive reform, and brand the Party as
anti-Latino and anti-immigrant.”

The President’s challenge stands in sharp contrast to today’s initial
volley on immigration from House Republicans.  The House Immigration
Subcommittee—with Reps. Lamar Smith, Elton Gallegly, and Steve King at
the helm—is launching a series of hearings to challenge the
Administration, push enforcement-only legislation, and define the
Republican Party as favoring mass deportation.  Senate Republicans and
2012 presidential candidates should view their actions with concern. 
Following the policies and strategies of Smith, Gallegly, and King is
the reason the GOP has done so poorly with Latino voters in recent
elections.  Unless some reasonable Republicans in the Senate provide a
credible alternative to the Smith-Gallegly-King approach, by working
with the President and Senate Democrats, the pattern is destined to
repeat itself in the 2012 elections.

“There is a way forward on immigration reform during this Congress.  It
started last night with the President's challenge, but requires a
bipartisan breakthrough in the Senate.  With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid already having announced that immigration reform will be a top priority for the Senate in the 112th
Congress, the question is crystal clear: will any Senate Republicans
stand up to the extremists in the House and lead their Party forward on
an issue of huge national importance and huge political consequences?"
said Sharry.  


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America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America’s Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.

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