***For Immediate Release***
November 24, 2014Contact, Jeff Sheldon Communications Director, Nebraska Appleseed Office: (402) 438-8853 Mobile: (402) 840-7289 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nebraskans call President’s Administrative Relief a good first step on immigration
Immigrant, faith, & community leaders now urge Congress to take action for long-term, common-sense laws
LINCOLN — Today, Nebraska faith, immigrant, and community leaders gathered to support the temporary administrative relief from deportation for some immigrants announced last week by President Obama.
But the group, which included young Nebraska immigrants and advocates speaking at Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Lincoln, made clear this small step must be followed by long-term policy reform from Congress that will allow Nebraska families to live without fear of separation.
Reverend Scott J. Jones, Bishop of the Great Plains United Methodist Conference, which includes Nebraska, said our Nebraska and American values call for us to be kind to those who are in need and welcome people who will enhance our country.
“As Bishop of the United Methodist Church in Nebraska, I stand with other Christian leaders who welcome immigration reform and advocate for it. It’s the moral thing to do,” Rev. Jones said. “I welcome President Obama’s executive action. I think it’s a good step, and yet I want to call attention to the fact it is so, so temporary. It might be changed under a future president. It doesn’t really fix it because there are millions who are not going to be affected by this action. We call upon the Members of Congress to take the steps to bring about immigration reform in a more-permanent way.”
Armando Becerril, who came to the U.S. at age five and will soon graduate from UNL as an accounting major, spoke about how the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is allowing him to continue his profession with an internship at a Big Four accounting firm. If Congress creates a clear process for citizenship, more Nebraskans like Armando can contribute fully to their communities without the concern of having their temporary legal status expire.
“My parents told me at a very young age, ‘It’s not going to be the papers that are doing the work, it’s going to be you,’” Becerril said. “I’m not one to complain because I feel that I have been fortunate enough to have a great family and a great attitude toward this situation. But there are millions of people out there that are struggling to get by, in a nation with outdated immigration laws. People like me, that already pay their taxes and like me would like to be here legally, but for that to happen we need to update our immigration laws.”
Juan Gallegos, moved to Nebraska from Mexico at age 12 after his parents’ business failed after new corn imports from the U.S. under NAFTA flooded the Mexican market. While he has DACA status, he constantly lives in fear his parents, who do not have legal status, may be detained or deported.
“Since my parents came to the U.S. with all their children over 12 years old, they don’t have any American citizen children or permanent resident children, they don’t qualify for relief,” Gallegos said. “I am scared of the day that they will be taken away from us because of a broken immigration system. I invite every Member of Congress to get together with their colleagues and work on a comprehensive solution that will address the needs of this nation and the needs of all of our economy.”
For more than a year, a diverse coalition of more than 50 Nebraska business, faith, and community organizations have joined together to urge Congress to pass updated immigration laws that provide a clear process for citizenship that will move our economy, communities and country forward.
“The President’s action is a reasonable, modest, and temporary step. We can fix this. It’s time,” said Darcy Tromanhauser, Nebraska Appleseed Immigrants & Communities Director. “More than 50 Nebraska organizations support our Members of Congress in moving forward. We are counting on the leadership of our Nebraska Members of Congress to work aggressively to get us to common-sense immigration laws.”
Participants & coordinators of today’s press conference included: the DREAMers Project Coalition, Heartland Workers Center, Justice for Our Neighbors, Nebraska Appleseed, NAACP – Lincoln Branch, Saint Paul United Methodist Church, Great Plains United Methodist Conference, League of Women Voters, YWCA Lincoln, American Immigration Lawyers Association – Nebraska Chapter, Voices for Children in Nebraska, and others.