YEO Action

Citing Local Effects, 53 Young Elected Officials Call on Congress to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Today 53 state and local elected officials from 23 states and the District of Columbia, along with Young Elected Officials Action, a program of People For the American Way representing the interests of elected officials age 35 and under, urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, they write, “As state and local elected officials, we see firsthand the impact that a failing federal immigration system has on American communities.” The letter calls for immigration reform legislation that provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and keeps all families – including LGBTQ families – together. 

The elected officials note that federal immigration policies have significant implications for local communities, with state and local officials too often “picking up the pieces” of a broken system.  “City council members and mayors must ensure that all people in our communities – documented and undocumented – have the protection of and are treated fairly by law enforcement. State legislators, in the absence of federal guidance, must work to ensure that all residents of their states have access to education, law enforcement protection, and health and human services,” the letter states. 

The full text of the letter is below.


Dear Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Leader Pelosi:

We, state and local elected officials from 23 states and the District of Columbia and Young Elected Officials Action – a program of People For the American Way representing the interests of progressive elected officials ages 35 and under – write to urge you to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Any comprehensive immigration reform legislation must provide broad legalization with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, help our economy grow by expanding opportunities for legal immigration, keep families – including those led by LGBTQ people – together, afford the responsibilities and rights required for full integration into American society, protect rights and working conditions for all workers, and ensure that the federal government can adequately enforce immigration laws that protect American and immigrant workers and advance due process and fair treatment, without shifting the burden to states, towns, and businesses.

As state and local elected officials, we see firsthand the impact that a failing federal immigration system has on American communities. School board members face the challenge of ensuring that the children of undocumented parents have access to education and opportunity. City council members and mayors must ensure that all people in our communities – documented and undocumented – have the protection of and are treated fairly by law enforcement. State legislators, in the absence of federal guidance, must work to ensure that all residents of their states have access to education, law enforcement protection, and health and human services.

Too often, state and local elected officials are left picking up the pieces of a federal immigration system that does not recognize the reality that undocumented immigrants have already become members of our communities. They contribute to local economies and strengthen our social fabric. Yet our outdated immigration system is deterring many potential new immigrants we critically need to help grow our economy and keeping the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently within our borders from contributing fully to our nation. These Americans, two-thirds of whom have lived in the United States for at least a decade, often face barriers in meeting basic needs such as health insurance, or drivers’ licenses, or feeling secure in reporting crimes to law enforcement. Providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would be a boon to our local economies as immigrants previously kept in the shadows are able to more fully participate in our entrepreneurial system and invest in their children’s future.

A broken immigration system undermines the efforts of state and local elected officials to serve our constituents through effective law enforcement, public safety, economic development, public health, and education. Congress must pass a comprehensive immigration reform package that acknowledges the contributions that immigrants are making across the country, helps local economies to grow and thrive, and allows undocumented immigrants and their children to come out of the shadows.

Sincerely,

YEO Action
People For the American Way

Felipe Agredano, Human Rights Commissioner, Los Angeles, CA
Jesse Arreguin, City Council Member, Berkeley, CA
Mandela Barnes, State Representative, Milwaukee, WI
Josue Barrios, City Council Member, Cudahy, CA
Maria Antonia Berrios, State Representative, Chicago, IL
Joe Carn, City Council Member, College Park, GA
Adam Carranza, Mountain View Board of Education Member, El Monte, CA
Melvin Carter, City Council Member, Saint Paul, MN
Stanley Chang, City Council Member, Honolulu, HI
Leland Cheung, City Council Member, Cambridge, MA
Caitlin Copple, City Council Member, Missoula, MT
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, Azusa Unified School District Board Clerk, Azusa, CA
Henry Davis, Jr., City Council Member, South Bend, IN
Tadeo De La Hoya, Governing Board Member, San Luis, AZ
James Eldridge, State Senator, Acton, MA
Megan England, City Council Member, Roeland Park, KS
Wesley Farrow, Neighborhood Advisory Councilman, Los Angeles, CA
Carmelo Garcia, School Board Member, Hoboken, NJ
Mike Gaughan, County Commissioner, Lawrence, KS
Robert J. Gignac, School Committeeman, Lowell, MA
Andrew Gillum, City Commissioner, Tallahassee, FL
Mike Gipson, City Council Member, Carson, CA
Dayvin Hallmon, County Supervisor, Kenosha, WI
Eddie Holguin, State Representative, El Paso, TX
Tishaura Jones, Treasurer, St. Louis, MO
Jill Krowinski, State Representative, Burlington, VT
Roland Lemar, State Representative, New Haven, CT
Antonio Lopez, School Board Trustee, Helm, CA
Toni Moceri, County Commissioner, Warren, MI
Matthew Moonen, State Representative, Portland, ME
Quentin Phipps, City Treasurer, Middletown, CT
Kesha Ram, State Representative, Burlington, VT
Kathryn Ramirez, School Board Member, Salinas, CA
Ricardo Rangel, State Representative, Kissimmee, FL
Michael Richards, County Board Member, Champaign, IL
Armando Rodriguez, School Board President, El Paso, TX
Peggy Romo West, County Supervisor, Milwaukee, WI
Brian Rowland, City Councilman, City of Prairie View, TX
Jesus Rubalcava, School Governing Board Member, Gila Bend, AZ
Natalia Rudiak, City Council Member, Pittsburgh, PA
Andrew Smith, City Councilman, Middletown, OH
Brent Steeno, Alderman, Grandview, MO
James Taylor, City Councilman, Winston-Salem, NC
Rashida Tlaib, State Representative, Detroit, MI
Elizabeth Toledo, Riverside County Board of Education Member, Thermal, CA
Anna Tovar, State Senator, Phoenix, AZ
Tiffany Troidl, Governing Board Member, Phoenix, AZ
Hugo Antonio Tzec, School Board Member, Baldwin Park, CA
Ponka-We Victors, State Representative, Wichita, KS
Lea Webb, City Council Member, Binghampton, NY
Joe Wisniewski, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, Washington, DC
Cynthia Wolken, City Council Member, Missoula, MT
Thomas Wong, Environmental Council Director, Monterey Park, CA

 

###
 

Young Elected Officials Call for Gun Violence Prevention Reforms

Daniel Hernandez - Rep. Gabby Giffords' heroic intern, now a school board member in AZ - appeared on the Ed Show to discuss a letter from 42 members of PFAW’s Young Elected Officials Action program urging gun violence prevention reforms.
PFAW

42 Young Elected Officials Call on Congress to Adopt Common-Sense Gun Violence Prevention Reforms

WASHINGTON – Today 42 elected officials from 20 states and Young Elected Officials Action, a program of People For the American Way representing the interests of elected officials age 35 and under, called on House and Senate leaders to work toward the passage of common-sense gun violence prevention reforms. In a letter to House and Senate leaders, the elected officials write that until Congress passes “meaningful gun violence prevention measures” such as criminal background checks for every gun sale, state and local elected officials are “limited” in what they can do to address the problem in their own communities. 

“No child should fear going to school in the morning, no parent should fear a trip to the grocery store, and no teenagers should fear walking the streets of their own neighborhood,” the letter states.

Elected officials who have signed the letter include city councilmembers, state senators and representatives, a mayor, and Sunnyside Unified School District board member Daniel Hernandez – the former intern credited with saving Representative Gabby Giffords’ life.

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Leader Pelosi:

We, state and local elected officials from 20 states and Young Elected Officials Action – a program of People For the American Way representing the interests of elected officials age 35 and under – write to express our deep concern about the gun violence devastating communities across the country and to urge you to take meaningful action to curb it.  As mayors, and members of school boards, city and county councils, and state legislatures, we are charged with ensuring the safety and security of our communities. But until Congress takes action to implement meaningful gun violence prevention measures, we are limited in what we can do to reduce gun violence in our own communities.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence estimates that approximately 100,000 Americans are victims of gun violence each year.  Many others count the victims of such violence among their family and friends. This violence has a devastating effect on individual lives and on our communities as a whole. No child should fear going to school in the morning, no parent should fear a trip to the grocery store, and no teenagers should fear walking the streets of their own neighborhood. That fear, fed by a lawless market in deadly weapons, erodes our efforts to create strong schools, safe neighborhoods and healthy local economies.

That is why YEO Action and the undersigned are calling for common-sense reforms to make the country safer. These include: requiring a criminal background check for every gun sale; making illegal gun trafficking a federal crime; removing military-style assault weapons from our communities; and banning the use of high-capacity magazines that have no use but mass carnage. These basic changes would not end gun violence in our country, but they would help to curb the epidemic of violence that has devastated so many American lives.

Every person has the right to be safe in our schools, homes, and neighborhoods. Today we call upon you, leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, to adopt these common-sense and vitally important measures.

Sincerely,

Danielle Adams, Soil/Water Conservation District Supervisor, Durham, NC
Ben Allen, School Board President, Santa Monica, CA
Mandela Barnes, State Representative, Milwaukee, WI
Alex Breland, School Council Member, Chicago, IL
Dwight Bullard, State Senator, Miami, FL
Joe Carn, City Council Member, College Park, GA
Adam Carranza, School Board Member, El Monte, CA
Leland Cheung, City Council Member, Cambridge, MA
Janet Chin, School Board Member, Rosemead, CA
Enbar Cohen, City Commissioner, Aventura, FL
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, Azusa USD Board Clerk, Azusa, CA
Marcus C. Evans, Jr., State Representative, Chicago, IL
Wesley Farrow, Neighborhood Council Board Member, Inglewood, CA
Bill Ferguson, State Senator, Baltimore, MD
Carmelo Garcia, School Board Member, Hoboken, NJ
Angela Garretson, City Council Member, Hillside, NJ
Robert J. Gignac, Lowell School Committeeman, Lowell, MA
Andrew Gillum, City Commissioner, Tallahassee, FL
Mike Gipson, City Council Member, Carson, CA
Jennifer Gregerson, City Council Member, Mukilteo, WA
Mike Hays, City Council Member, Spring City, PA
Daniel Hernandez, School Board Member, Tucson, AZ
Dar'shun Kendrick, State Representative, Lithonia, GA
Kevin Killer, State Representative, Pine Ridge, SD
Roland Lemar, State Representative, New Haven, CT
Alex Lewy, City Commissioner, Hallandale Beach, FL
Josh Maxwell, Mayor, Downingtown, PA
Wendell Mosby, Community College Trustee, Chicago, IL
Quentin Phipps, City Treasurer, Middletown, CT
Kesha Ram, State Representative, Burlington, VT
Craig Rice, City Council Member, Rockville, MD
Jacque Robinson, City Council Member, Pasadena, CA
Jesus Rubalcava, School Governing Board Member/ State Association Officer, Gila Bend, AZ
Kristie Renee Sepulveda-Burchit, School District Board Trustee, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Andrew Smith, City Council Member, Middletown, OH
Brent Steeno, Alderman, Grandview, MO
Rashida Tlaib, State Representative, Detroit, MI
Michael Unis, Board of Education Member, Verona, NJ
Virgil Watkins, City Council Member, Macon, GA
Lea Webb, City Council Member, Binghamton, NY
Alan Williams, State Representative, Tallahassee, FL
Justen Wright, City Council Member, Wilmington, DE

YEO Action
People For the American Way

 

###

Share this page: Facebook Twitter Digg SU Digg Delicious