January 28, 2013




Today a bipartisan group of eight US Senators announced their framework on immigration reform.  The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights issued the following statement:

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) thank the Senators for their steadfast leadership in crafting a bipartisan framework and taking a major step forward for immigration reform. 

While there is much work to be done, now more than ever it is important to remember what immigration reform is really about: families. Families across the country are torn apart by our country’s current patchwork of failed and mismanaged immigration policies.  All over the nation, family members are coming forward to tell their stories of separation and fear.  The moral case for immigration reform is overwhelming and getting louder.

Momentum for immigration reform is surging.  With the Senators announcing a bipartisan framework, the President unveiling his outline in a major address on Tuesday, and grassroots group all over the country announcing major actions and events, the stage has been set for passing immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living and working in our communities.

We are particularly encouraged that some Senate Republicans have embraced the concept of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the framework announced today.  We are also pleased that the framework addresses the need to reduce existing backlogs in the immigration system, and to craft a humane system for immigrant workers to come to the US.  We are concerned, however, that the proposed path to citizenship would be contingent on more border enforcement measures, particularly at a time when net undocumented migration to the US is zero.  We are also concerned that the framework leaves in place many of the harsh enforcement policies that have separated so many families over the past decade. 

“We are glad to see that a pathway to citizenship is part of the immigration plan, but concerned with the heavy focus on enforcement,” said ICIRR’s CEO Lawrence Benito.  “We are clearly in a defining moment in the United States: do we fight to keep our families together or do continue to separate them?”

ICIRR, along with its national partner, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, will be participating in national Keeping Families Together Campaign this spring to mobilize support to pass an immigration reform.  The Keeping Families Together campaign unites immigrant activists, advocates, champions, and most importantly immigrant families themselves in a demand for a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. The campaign will focus on mass mobilizations across the country and lifting the veil on the moral crisis of family separation. We plan to raise immigrant voices to talk to other members of Congress and elected leaders to win their support for the comprehensive approach that the Senators have started.


 The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of more than 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. For more information, visit