RGV Equal Voice Network Partner Groups and State-wide Alliance Ready to Shape Bill as it Advances Through Legislative Process

San Juan, TX – The long awaited immigration reform bill promised by the “Gang of Eight” was unveiled Wednesday April 17th to the applause of immigrant advocates in the Rio Grande Valley, including La Union del Pueblo Entero, ARISE, Movimiento del Valle, the ACLU of Brownsville and other members of the Equal Voice Network.

Juanita Valdez-Cox, Executive Director of La Union del Pueblo Entero, said: “This moment is a result of years of organizing defending the rights of immigrant and Latino communities and lifting up the needs of the families most impacted by our broken immigration system. It is a result of the decisive role that Latino and immigrant voters had on the outcome of the 2012 election.”

Ramona Casas of ARISE added, “Most of all, it is a result of millions of immigrants and their allies keeping hope in the face of attacks on their dignity and humanity and turning that hope into action for change.”

Dina Nuñez of Movimiento del Valle por Los Derechos Humanos said, “It is great that the proposed legislation recognizes the need for increased oversight and accountability for border enforcement. Communities along the border have faced harassment, racial profiling, denial of due process, and even death at the hands of border enforcement officials. New provisions to reign in abuse are welcomed. Unfortunately, we are also expecting more border enforcement and funding for Operation Streamline. The senators want to give $3 billion more to the border, even though we have already spent billions. Last year alone, we spent $11 billion fortifying the border.”

Valley advocates, who are working with state-wide group Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance, are underscoring that this is only the beginning of the legislative process and that advocacy groups will continue to be involved in shaping the bill as it moves forward.

Astrid Dominguez of the ACLU of Texas said, “We will work for an immigration reform that honors and preserves our country’s longstanding constitutional promise of equality to all. Reform must protect civil liberties by restoring prosecutorial discretion and eliminating mandatory deportation laws so that only the most dangerous immigrants – a small fraction of those who end up in the deportation pipeline – are deported and families are not needlessly separated. The ‘one size fits all’ injustice that throws the book at everyone regardless of their circumstances is counter to American values and the national interest.”

The Equal Voice Network and the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance have been steadfast in their demand and support for immigration reform that includes:

  1. A Clear and Fair Pathway to Citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
  2. Responsible, Transparent and Accountable Border Policy that ends the militarization of the border.
  3. Keeping Families Together and halting the record number of deportations and further expansion of unsustainable and punitive immigration enforcement policies.
  4. A program that address future flows of immigrant workers who enter the U.S legally to meet the economic needs of our country.
  5. Investment in the infrastructure and personnel at ports of entry to grow the Texas economy.

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Equal Voice Network Member Organizations:
American Civil Liberties Union – ACLU (Brownsville)
ARISE – A Resource in Service Equality (Alamo)
BCHC – Brownsville Community Health Clinic (Brownsville)
La Unión del Pueblo Entero LUPE (San Juan)
Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos (Brownsville)
Proyecto Azteca (San Juan)
Proyecto Juan Diego (Cameron Park/Brownsville)
START – South Texas Adult Resource and Training Center (San Benito)
South Texas Civil Rights Project – STCRP (Alamo)
Texas Organizing Project – TOP (San Juan)