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NEA: Educators welcome progress on commonsense immigration reform

Senate bipartisan proposal is timely and necessary for aspiring new Americans

WASHINGTON - April 17, 2013 -

A bipartisan group of eight U.S. Senators today unveiled a plan to fix the nation’s broken immigration system for the first time in decades. The legislative proposal comes on the heels of a massive national rally organized by educators, community, labor and immigrant rights supporters on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to urge Congress to pass immigration reform.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement:

“Educators welcome the most serious plan to fix our nation’s broken immigration system in years. The time is now to move commonsense immigration reform forward and the bipartisan legislation offered by the Senate ‘Gang of Eight’ is a step in the right direction.

“The proposal rightly reflects our moral values and robust tradition as a nation of immigrants. We commend the senators for making the centerpiece of the bill a clear and inclusive roadmap for aspiring Americans to become citizens. We also appreciate their commitment to keep families together and to expedite the process for citizenship for DREAMers. We agree that efficient, fair, and effective avenues for legal, family-based immigration are vital to keeping America strong.

“For years, educators have been sounding the alarm about how the current immigration system is affecting students, families, and communities. Teachers like Kari Johnson of Wisconsin, who traveled to Washington last week to attend the April 10 Citizenship Rally, have witnessed for far too long the negative impact the immigration system is having on her students—living in the shadows of society under the constant fear of deportation, dashed dreams, and divided families. She is advocating on behalf of her students—most of whom are immigrants—to make sure Congress acts now to help them achieve their dreams.

“We will not rest until we find a commonsense fix that puts our values first, creates a reasonable immigration process, and moves the country forward together—because that’s what a majority of Americans want and aspiring citizens deserve. Ms. Johnson and thousands of NEA members like her are leading the growing chorus of voices calling on lawmakers to create a commonsense immigration process for aspiring Americans. She is ready and willing to mobilize, pound the pavement, pick up the phone, text, call or take to social media to advocate on behalf of her students and their families.

“We thank the senators for their leadership and we look forward to working with the U.S. Senate on passing commonsense immigration reform. We urge the U.S. House of Representatives and Republican leaders to follow in the footsteps of the Senate and move swiftly to pass immigration reform.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,