MEDIA RELEASE: North Carolina groups, individuals join growing national movement for immigration reform

North Carolina groups, individuals join growing national movement for immigration reform
At Monday's launch event, people working with the Reform Immigration FOR America effort called for a fair, practical process that protects families

RALEIGH (June 1) -- On Monday, advocacy groups, faith groups, labor organizations and concerned individuals called on national leaders to enact just, humane immigration reform. At a news conference in Raleigh, speakers urged Congress to create clear, common-sense path to U.S. citizenship for immigrants.

"Imagine being separated from the people you love most in the world, your family," said Sister Attracta Kelly, an immigration attorney with the NC Justice Center. "Imagine this separation taking years, even decades to resolve.  Sadly, many people my colleagues and I at the Justice Center work with every day don't have to imagine."

Currently, the outdated system denies a common-sense process for immigrants to come to the United States legally or gain legal status. This tears apart families and undermines key protections for workers. Comprehensive immigration reform would help North Carolina communities take advantage of contributions immigrants make to our society and economy.

Speakers also cited the economic benefits of immigration, which would only be enhanced by creating a clear path to citizenship.

One in twenty workers in the U.S. workforce - 5.4% -- are undocumented.  They are vulnerable to employers who seek unfair advantage over their competitors by not paying workers minimum wage or by ignoring labor rights protected by law. 

"There is a broad national consensus that the immigration system is broken, unfair, and in urgent need of reform," said Dani Martinez-Moore, Coordinator of the NC Network of Immigrant Advocates at the NC Justice Center. "Congress and the President must reform immigration to unite families, to boost our economy, and to create a lasting solution that is fair to everyone."

So far, the Reform Immigration FOR America efforts in North Carolina have involved American Friends Service Committee's Project Voice, Latin American Coalition (Charlotte), NC Council of Churches, NC Justice Center, El Pueblo, and other North Carolina residents who care about these issues. Today is a first step in launching the campaign, and the groups are inviting more organizations and individuals to join in working together for positive changes in federal law.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jeff Shaw, communications director, North Carolina Justice Center, 919.863.2402 (office) 503.551.3615 (mobile); Dani Martinez-Moore, NC Justice Center, 919.856.2178.