AZ Advocates Call Senate Immigration Bill a Good First Step
PHOTO: Abril Gallardo of the Arizona Comprehensive Immigration Reform Coalition (AZ CIR) says current immigration laws are tearing families apart. CREDIT: Doug Ramsey
May 23, 2013
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Arizona immigrant advocates are calling the comprehensive immigration bill adopted by a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday night "a good first step." However, the 22-member coalition said a lot more work must be done to convince senators and representatives to support the measure.
Abril Gallardo, a member of Living United for Change in Arizona, said current immigration laws are tearing families apart. She said her mother was unable to visit her ailing grandmother in Mexico to say goodbye before the woman died.
"I don't want any family to go through what my family went through," Gallardo said. "Immigration reform means strong families. And when we have strong families, that makes our country a strong country."
Bishop Jeff Metcalfe, president, Maricopa County Chapter, National Action Network, thanked Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain for their work on the immigration bill, which he called "courageous."
"I'm pastor over a church where 80 percent of the members are undocumented," Metcalfe said. "They need to be able to stay here without fear of being deported; it is sad they have to walk looking over their shoulders. Well, this day is going to end."
Reyna Montoya with the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition said she is thankful the Senate is moving ahead with the immigration bill, but she is also angry and irritated that deportations are continuing.
"It's extremely sad that when the Senate is actually moving forward and trying to create more progressive methods, we're still having our families being tore up and we're still having that struggle that we see every day."
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the immigration bill 13-5. A full senate vote is expected in June.