Response to State of the Union Address

January 20, 2015

Victoria Johnson, [email protected], 773-818-9222, or
Gebe Martiniez, [email protected], 703-731-9505

State of the Union Rightly Balances Scales of Social and Economic Justice

WASHINGTON — The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) commends President Barack Obama for presenting a State of the Union Address that rightly balances the scales of social and economic justice.

Among the invited guests in the House Chamber for the president’s speech was NILC Immigration Policy Attorney Kamal Essaheb, a former undocumented youth. Essaheb was the guest of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-CA.

NILC Executive Director Marielena Hincapié issued the following statement on President Obama’s State of the Union Address to Congress:

“Tonight, President Obama addressed realities that exist in our country, and particularly in immigrant communities: the divisions between Americans born in the U.S. and those of us who were not — and between the very wealthy and the very poor.

“At NILC, where we advocate with and on behalf of low-income immigrants and their families, the policy agenda presented to Congress could not be more relevant to the communities we represent and to our entire nation.

“We applaud President Obama for using his well-established executive authority to provide temporary relief from deportation to immigrants who came to the U.S. as children without documents and parents of U.S. citizen children and lawful permanent residents (LPRs). Like all Americans, the immigrant community wants fairness restored to our immigration system so that needless deportations do not continue to separate families with longstanding community and family ties in the U.S.

“Equally important are the president’s proposals to improve access to education and workers’ rights, which will provide everyone the support they need to fulfill their human potential.

“Social justice goes hand in hand with economic and racial justice, and the president offered several proposals to balance the scales between the haves and have-nots. The American Dream of economic opportunity is enhanced by equal access to education, and the president’s proposal to make community college free for responsible students is just one example of a program that would meet our nation’s goals for equality and to reestablish the American middle class.”

“Access to affordable health care, family medical leave, and workers’ rights have yet to be realized by millions of immigrants who live just outside the boundaries of eligibility, and  President Obama should continue pressing forward with an agenda that seeks to  correct decades of injustice.

“Our growing economy makes this agenda realistic, and these programs will, in turn, strengthen our economy even more. It is now up to Congress to prove it can govern by seriously considering the president’s words. We urge Congress to leave aside partisan politics and attacks on immigrants and Americans struggling to make ends meet, and to engage in a meaningful legislative agenda that brings liberty and justice to all.”

Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center is the only advocacy organization in the United States exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. NILC advances its mission through policy analysis and litigation, along with education and advocacy. Over the past three decades, NILC has won landmark legal decisions protecting fundamental rights, thwarted policies that would have devastated the lives of low-income immigrants and their family members, and advanced major policies that reinforce our nation’s values of equality, opportunity, and justice for all.

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