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Rep. Yvette D. Clarke Joins Religious and Faith Leaders Calling To Keep Families Together in Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Rep. Clarke joins the Launch of the “Together, Not Torn: Families Can’t Wait For Immigration Reform” Nationwide Campaign

Brooklyn, NY- Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke joined faith leaders and religious organizations from across the country in launching the “Together, Not Torn: Families Can’t Wait For Immigration Reform” nationwide campaign. This campaign is a national mobilization of people of faith standing up for families being torn apart by our broken system. They are fighting for immigration reform that keeps them together, creates pathways to citizenship and protects the dignity of all workers. Rep. Clarke released the following statement during the conference call:

“It is an honor for me to join all of you on this very important Press Conference call today. First, I quickly want to thank the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and the mass coalition of religious organizations represented on this call this morning and those participating in the campaign. Our religious institutions are often times the first responders in our communities across this nation. Every day you witness firsthand how a broken immigration system continues to break up families and I commend you for bravely speak out for the communities you serve.

“I also want to recognize my colleagues and partners in this fight for reform, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Rep. Mike Honda. Both of these men have fought tirelessly for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and I thank them for their hard work in keeping this issue alive in Congress.

“America is a nation of great humanity and it is time our immigration system reflects that.

“Keeping families together is an essential component to any immigration reform legislation that comes out of Congress. It is something that I hold dear to my heart, as a child of immigrant parents, whose family emigrated here from Jamaica. I also witness its importance to my constituents, as the Representative of one of the largest districts in the country, with a diverse population of immigrants.

“Take the Haitian population in my district. My district has the second largest population of 1st and 2nd generation Haitian immigrants in the United States. My office has been constantly inundated with family members desperately trying to find their loved ones in Haiti, many of whom wanted to expedite their loved ones visa applications so that they could be safe.

“Because there was not a clear pathway to citizenship for those Haitian nationals seeking to protect their family members during this crisis, I introduced legislation that would address at least a fraction of the situation.
“The Haitian Emergency Life Protection Act of 2010 (The H.E.L.P Act) would allow an estimated 55,000 Haitians with approved immigration petitions to join their relatives in the United States.

“My constituents are eager to reunite with their family members in Haiti, some of whom have been waiting for up to 11 years to enter the U.S. because of backlogs. It is imperative that we keep families together during this time of crisis.
“One of the main opposing arguments against comprehensive immigration reform is that given our current economic situation, reform creates an added financial burden for America.
“I want to remind everyone and especially those individuals oppose to immigration reform that throughout U.S. history, immigrant families have helped build our nation and contributed to the creation of our civil society. They have established businesses, strengthened local communities, and helped to integrate their members and others into American society.

“According to the ‘New Immigration Policy Center and Center for American Progress report by economist Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda show(s) the high costs of ‘enforcement only.’ ‘It also illustrates “that a comprehensive approach to immigration reform can produce a $1.5 trillion cumulative boost in our gross domestic product over 10 years.’

“Any new immigration system needs to focus on alleviating the backlogs for family-based immigration, increase the number of family visas, reduce lengthy waiting periods for legal immigrants to be reunited with their loved ones and eliminate discrimination in immigration law against permanent partners and their families.

“We need to keep families together! I repeat, we need to keep families together! Thank you”