Latino Community Delivers Veterans Week Postcards to Congress Calling for Commonsense Immigration Reform This Year

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“I was willing to die for my country that was tearing my family apart,” - Air Force veteran says of sister’s 2-year immigration detention.

During a press teleconference call today, leaders of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Hispanic Federation (HF) and U.S. Air Force veteran Jesus Magaña highlighted the moral imperative for Congress to enact commonsense immigration reform in honor of immigrants and families of immigrants who have served in the U.S. military.

“As Congress returns to work after Veterans Day, I have an urgent message for members: I fought for you, now you have to fight for us,” said Magaña, a military veteran who was about to be deployed to Kuwait two years ago when he learned that his then-25-year-old sister, Alejandra, had been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.His sister, who arrived in the U.S. when she was two-months-old, was held in detention for two years without even a bond hearing and was released in August.

“I was willing to die for my country that was tearing my family apart,” Magaña added.

The press call was accompanied by a delivery to Congress of thousands of Veterans Day postcards from Hispanics from across the U.S. urging action on immigration reform. “This Veterans Day, we honor those who defend our country and stand ready to defend their families’ quest for American citizenship. Don’t you think they have earned the right?” the postcards read.

Combined with an earlier postcard drop, almost 15,000 postcards from Latinos are reaching almost every member of the House and Senate as part of a campaign sponsored by LULAC, HF, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).

Though there is little time left on the legislative calendar, the House has plenty of time to hold a floor vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship, said Brent A. Wilkes, LULAC national executive director.

“This fight for immigration reform will not over until we see a bill reach the president’s desk. If the House thinks it can kick the can down the road, they are going to find angry Latino constituents at the end of that road. The House needs to act now,” Wilkes added.

“For generations, non-citizen immigrants have served with distinction in the U.S. Armed Forces, said José Calderón, President of the Hispanic Federation. “Sadly, instead of embracing these immigrants and their families, our current broken immigration system works to punish and separate many of these military families through forced deportation. No member of the U.S. military should have to face the fear of having a close family member removed from the very same country they defend and protect. It’s high time for Congress to finally pass broad and progressive immigration reform that supports all of our veterans and immigrant families throughout our nation.”

Hector Sanchez, executive director of LCLAA, said in a statement: “Immigration Reform is a critical priority for our community. Immigrants have contributed immensely to this country. This is especially true for service members. Our service members and their families have sacrificed so much for this country. During this week of Veterans Day, we ask Members of Congress to honor the sacrifices and contributions of Immigrant veterans and answer their call for commonsense Immigration Reform this year.”

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Paloma Zuleta
LULAC
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