For Immediate Release: June 17, 2021
We Are Home Campaign Members and Directly Impacted People Meet with White House Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond to Discuss Importance of Citizenship Now
Washington, D.C. – Today, directly impacted individuals and members of the We Are Home campaign participated in a roundtable discussion with Cedric Richmond, former Congressman and now Senior Advisor to the President of the United States and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, to express the importance of citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The roundtable, which included TPS holders and DACA recipients, comes during the ninth anniversary of DACA, a program that has benefitted hundreds of thousands of young immigrants, but that remains under threat. The meeting marks the third time that the new administration has listened to the stories of directly impacted individuals in the White House.
Bridgette Gomez, Campaign Director for the We Are Home Campaign issued the following statement:
“We are pleased to see Senior members of the Biden-Harris Administration lean in on this issue. The urgency is clear. The We Are Home campaign urges both Congress and the Biden administration to do everything within their power to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants this year. We have an historic opportunity to ensure that young immigrants, farmworkers, TPS holders, and essential workers have permanent peace of mind and a pathway to citizenship.
“We commend Rep. Richmond and the Biden administration for opening their doors to the stories of directly impacted people, and our hope is that these conversations will lead to decisive action to ensure we have a permanent solution this year. The American people are behind us and want solutions. We can’t wait any longer.”
Haddy Gassama, ESQ, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, UndocuBlack Network, issued the following statement:
“As a Black woman with previous undocumeted experience and now an attorney, being here today with fellow undocumented people including UBN member Kai Martin, is surreal but necessary. With his vast knowledge and experience of Black communities particularly from his time in the House of Representatives, Mr. Cedric Richmond is no stranger to the need of citizenship for all , including Black immigrants communities. The White House is also acutely aware of the detention facilities that are waiting to be filled with people who look like us, they must put a stop to this. Having this conversation is crucial and it is important it leads to action.”
Monica Camacho Perez, a Fast for Freedom faster and CASA member also said of the meeting,
“I have been fighting for immigrant rights for decades. Even before working with Baltimore City Public Schools, I was a teen marching, fasting, and meeting with elected officials for change. As a DACA holder, I am proud that a President we elected is fighting for us. I am leaving the meeting with the White House knowing that he cannot leave my undocumented parents and others, like TPS holders, behind. That’s why I will keep fasting, through the #WeAreEssential Fast for Freedom, and marching, especially at next week’s June 24 major #WeCantWait rally, until immigrants get the relief we need. I thank the President for introducing a bill that would include millions of people. Now what we need is for the White House to work with Congressional leaders to make it a reality.”
Karina Ruiz, Executive Director at the Arizona Dream Act Coalition – ADAC issued the following statement:
“Today, in a meeting with Representative Richmond, I had the opportunity to share my story and share the experiences of my undocumented community with Senior leaders in the White House. As a DACA recipient, I was able to travel to Mexico to see my siblings for the first time in over 18 years. DACA also allowed me to travel to Mexico to bury my dad after he died tragically of COVID-19. In the meeting, I was clear about the urgency that undocumented people find ourselves in. Unfortunately, while I am currently protected by DACA, people like my mom live each day with the fear of detention and deportation. I organized in my home-state of Arizona to help deliver victory to President Biden, and this meeting was an opportunity to remind White House leaders of the need for a pathway to citizenship to stop the pain of detention, deportation, and family separation. With the Senate and House in control of his own party, President Biden has a unique opportunity to deliver on his promise to pass a pathway to citizenship for millions this year. He must use everything in his power to make this happen, including pushing Democrats in Congress to leverage reconciliation.”
Raj Tamang, TPS holder and a member of Adhikaar concluded:
“The most difficult thing for me has been to think about what would happen to my daughter. What would I tell her? It breaks my heart to even ask her to come to Nepal with me, because this has been our home and the U.S. is the only place she has known. We have built our home here in Virginia and our community is here. My daughter has been a great student, she is loved by everyone. I feel so proud to see achievements everyday. Having TPS has provided a safety blanket, but it is also not permanent, and there is no certainty. This is not enough.”
We Are Home is a nationwide campaign to fight for immigrant communities on three fronts: prioritizing and demanding a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America; a moratorium and overhaul of interior enforcement; and broad affirmative relief from deportation. We Are Home is co-chaired by Community Change/Community Change Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)/Care in Action; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers/UFW Foundation; and United We Dream.