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New Yorker at Center of Immigration Reform Effort

June 1, 2009

New York, NY - Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez of New York, the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is in the spotlight as New York activists kick off a nationwide campaign aimed at fixing America's immigration system.

The push to reform immigration starts in earnest Wednesday, when a national campaign is launched in Washington. New Yorkers get a head start today however by honoring Congresswoman Velasquez, who is among those to be hailed by the New York Immigration Coalition at its Annual Builders of the New New York Fundraiser.

Gabriella Villareal of the Coalition says that as leader of the Hispanic Caucus, Velasquez will be in the thick of the legislative battle to come.

"Representative Velasquez has definitely shown an indication that a just and humane immigration reform package must include a path to citizenship, and include ways that workers can be protected, and respect the unity of family."

Villareal, the group's Immigration Policy Coordinator, says much has changed in Washington since the last attempt at immigration reform failed to gain Senate approval in 2007.

"I think that in terms of the political winds at a national level, we definitely are in a different position - and in a good position - to make immigration reform happen this year."

Some opponents of comprehensive immigration reform would prefer "enforcement only" legislation designed to detect and arrest illegal aliens.

President Obama will host a bipartisan White House meeting on immigration with key members of Congress on June 8.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY