Newark, NJ–US Senator Bob Menendez, who helped advance immigration reform legislation as a member of the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan Gang of 8, joined hundreds of New Jersey’s immigrants and supporters today at Newark’s Lincoln Park to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington and support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
“Working families have suffered far too long at the hands of a broken immigration system that divides our strength and fails to live up to our values as a nation of immigrants, said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “Today, there is no greater way to honor Dr. King’s legacy than to keep moving forward in extending the blessings of equality and liberty to all who share in Dr. King’s dream and one way to do that is to pass comprehensive immigration reform with an earned path to citizenship.”
On August 28, 1963, hundreds of thousands of people joined the great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It marked a turning point in American history, electrifying the Civil Rights movement and an entire generation of progressives, and inspiring many of the social reforms of the 60’s and 70’s.
“Just as Rev. King and Rosa Park understood that a society that is enslaved, disenfranchised and segregated by law can also begin to win equality by law, we can end this modern day two-tier society by fixing the broken immigration system by law, said Kevin Brown, State Director of 32BJ SEIU. “This is our time to make history. Let’s pass commonsense immigration reform. Let’s get it done.”
This summer, the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform legislation that included a pathway to citizenship on a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32. Through lobby days, phone banks, events and rallies, immigration advocates are keeping the pressure on House members to take an up-or-down vote on the Senate bill when they return from recess.
Advocates of the legislation also oppose work permits for undocumented workers without full citizenship, noting that it would relegate millions of people to a permanent underclass.
With more than 145,000 members, including 9,000 in New Jersey, 32BJ is the largest property services union in the country.