NORRISTOWN– As President Obama urges House Speaker John Boehner to take up the Senate immigration bill, local immigration reform supporters are celebrating the 6-0 passage of a City Council resolution for federal immigration reform.
At Large Councilman Marlon Milner led the charge for the resolution which urges Congress to support immigration reform.
“Affirming Norristown’s diversity and the importance of the immigrant community, in all its variety, is important to Norristown’s health and our country’s future,” said Milner.
“Immigration reform is a task of the federal government and we need to urge them to act. Reform will help Norristown families, improve quality of life, business development, enhance tax revenue, increase civic participation and improve public safety. We need reform now.”
With Norristown’s immigrant population growing, local elected officials are responding to a growing movement for comprehensive immigration reform. Immigrants in the U.S. are responsible for $700 billion in economic activity each year, prompting numerous city governments to support federal immigration reform that will help our economy grow.
“We are at a critical moment in the fight for commonsense immigration reform. The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill with a path to citizenship. Now it’s the House’s turn. We are encouraged that City Council is keeping the momentum going by passing a resolution in support of commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship,” said Daisy Cruz, Assistant District Director of 32BJ SEIU.
The Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation that included a pathway to citizenship earlier this summer on a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32. Five immigration bills have passed through House committees this year. House leaders, however, have been unwilling to bring any of these bills to the floor for a vote. No bills have been introduced in the House that would provide a pathway to citizenship.
At a Norristown immigration rally in August, immigrant and 32BJ SEIU member Maria Blanca underscored the importance of a path to citizenship when she shared the heartbreaking story of her brothers’ deportation, leaving her alone in an unfamiliar country.
“I ask the Congress to put themselves in our shoes just for one day to see if they would be happy with the life that we live, in the shadows,” said Blanca. “The time is now.”
Local faith and community groups have continued the call for a bill with a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million immigrants – a population the size of the state of Ohio – who live and work in the U.S. without benefit of immigration status, labor protections, civil rights, and political enfranchisement. Though lobby days, phone banks, events and rallies, immigration advocates are keeping the pressure on local House members to take an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill.
One October 5, large-scale immigration reform actions will take place across the country, including a “March for Dignity and Respect” expected to draw thousands of people to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. For more information on the March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect: http://action.seiu.org/page/s/october-5-march-for-immigrant-dignity-and-respect
32BJ SEIU is one of the largest unions in the country representing immigrant workers from over 60 countries. With 145,000 members in nine states and Washington, D.C., including 22,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.