Chantilly, Virginia – Congressman Luis Gutierrez (IL-4) joined immigrants and service providers from Northern Virginia in exploring the particularly harmful impact of the immigration crisis on women and girls at a panel discussion held today in Chantilly, VA. Congressman Frank Wolf (VA-10) declined an invitation for the event held in his district on Women’s Equality Day, which commemorates the day in 1920 when the 19th amendment was certified first allowing women the right to vote.
“I am not coming to the Districts of these two Republican Members of Congress to protest how they may or may not have voted on immigration legislation that is important to the men and women in their Districts,” said Gutierrez. “I am here in Virginia today to help demonstrate the deep and broad support for immigration reform that stretches across this country from red districts to purple districts to blue districts. “The votes are already there to pass a bill this fall. All we need is for the Speaker of the House to call the vote.” Gutierrez plays a key role in advocating for a common sense reform bill that supports women and girls, preserves family unity and provides a pathway toward citizenship.
After the panel, Gutierrez is participating in an immigration reform rally with Virginia Organizing in the Harrisonburg district of Judiciary Chairman, Congressman Bob Goodlatte (VA-10) who has also voiced his opposition to a path towards citizenship.
Among the panelists was Ana Machado, a single mother and 32BJ SEIU member who works as a commercial office cleaner in Northern Virginia, where she has lived for the last 23 years. “I know many single women in similar situations as me who are desperate for an immigration reform bill to pass out of Congress.”
Organizations across the country are holding events on August 26th to ensure that the needs of women and girls are front and center in any debate over immigration reform. The events are coordinated by We Belong Together, a national campaign to engage women in immigration reform and to ensure that any reform that is passed is fair and inclusive to women.
“I was proud to vote for the very first time in 2012,” said Lilian Flores, a CASA in Action member from Manassas. “Women voters are making the difference everywhere and we care about family and we want families to be united.”
“Like our nation as whole, northern Virginia is changing in terms of demographic, as the Latino community continues to grow we need to make sure our political leaders hear our voices,” said Gustavo Torres, President of CASA in Action. “We are here today with mothers from across Virginia to say the women, as care providers, and protectors of the family unit care about immigration reform and providing a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants that call our country home, many whom are women and children. He has led the call for the preservation of the family unit and has worked to up lift the stories of children and mothers being torn apart by our broken immigration system.”
32BJ represents nearly 4,000 janitors who maintain commercial buildings and government agencies throughout Northern Virginia and reside in the Commonwealth. With 145,000 members in 11 states and the District of Columbia including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.