SACRAMENTO, CA–On the heels of the vote in the United States Senate on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, Senator Ricardo Lara (D–Long Beach), Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus and Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D–Coachella) Vice Chair of the Caucus, released the following statement on behalf of the Caucus:
“Today’s unprecedented bipartisan support on an issue that has long been disputed shows the evolution of our nation in the acceptance of the millions of individuals who have for far too long been kept in the shadows,” stated Senator Lara. “The fact that this bill managed to pick up every vote from Democrats and 14 votes from Republicans, shows the pressing need to have a prompt, balanced and just reform. While we are pleased by the overwhelming passage of this bill today, the California Latino Legislative Caucus will remain engaged as this vital reform moves forward.”
The Senate immigration reform legislation would grant millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country provisional legal status and a path to citizenship. Late amendments, known as the “Corker-Hoeven” amendments, would double the number of border agents from 20,000 to 40,000 and add 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico Border. This language has been of particular concern to Latino advocates and supporters of this legislation.
“It is important that immigration reform legislation balance both border security and enforcement with humane treatment and fairness. It is also of equal importance that undocumented workers be provided a genuine and achievable opportunity to become U.S. citizens,” stated V. Manuel Pérez. “As we applaud today’s political victory, we remain vigilant about these serious challenges and will continue to communicate key concerns and opportunities to improve this historic legislation.”
Comprehensive Immigration reform is a top priority for the California Latino Legislative Caucus. Given the importance of this topic, the Caucus created a Task Force spearheaded by Vice-Chair Pérez. The Task Force is comprised of Latino Caucus members and is advised by a coordinating committee comprised of representatives from labor, business, agriculture and civil rights organizations. The Task Force will be holding three town hall meetings throughout the state this summer to hear from constituents and other groups so that the Caucus can continue to provide Members of Congress with additional recommendations.