Hundreds of people from all over California came to an immigration-focused town hall meeting July 20 in Bakersfield. The huge draw of this event was the two Congressmen Luis Gutierrez and David Valadao.
Rep. Valadao, who represents parts of California’s Central Valley, was applauded multiple times at the event as one of the limited number of Republican Congressmen who has come out in favor of immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship.
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He talked at length about the needs of the Central Valley and how immigrants are so necessary to building the economy. “It’s so important. Not just for the labor and not just for the people who are here; It’s important to everybody.”
Speakers included Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall and a DREAMer who talked about coming to America when he was 5 years old, how difficult it was to get through school, and the contributions he was hoping to make once he graduated. A farmworker also spoke to the crowd and told his story of working for years so that his children and their children would have a better life.
The house erupted with chants and cheers at the beginning of the question and answer period when one of the hosts kicked off the session by asking Congressman Valadao if he supported a pathway to citizenship. He answered with a simple “Yes, I do.” Along with assurances that Valadao is working with his fellow Republicans to create a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers already in this country, he is slowly gaining the trust and support of the community.
The time is NOW for Commonsense Immigration Reform
We deserve an immigration system that benefits our economy, reflects our values, and makes sense.
SEIU Local 521 is ready to work for practical immigration reform that leads to:
- Economic growth with better wages for all workers
- A clear roadmap to citizenship for hardworking, tax-paying families
- Everyone – including employers – paying their fair share of taxes
- Keeping families together
- More workers being able to join union activities without the fear of deportation or retaliation