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Wilson gives congressional update

caines | 6/13/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Topics include immigration, sequestration and jobs About 200 people showed up last Monday night at 93rd Street Community Baptist Church for a congressional update, sponsored by Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, Miami Dade Chapter. After sharing information about bills that she sponsored in the previous legislative session or is currently sponsoring, Wilson turned to the topics of immigration, sequestration and jobs. I want to ensure that South Floridians fully understand these issues, their impact on our community and the challenges we face, she said. Harmful federal budget cuts known as sequestration have resulted in the loss of jobs and threaten thousands more. Economic growth has been stymied and vital services many people depend on, especially children, seniors and the poor, have been drastically cut. Our economy and more families will suffer if Congress does not act not to pass a balanced budget, reform immigration and create jobs. Wilsons sentiments were echoed by President Barack Obama, who last Tuesday morning, held a press conference that focused on immigration reform just as the Senate prepared to cast its first floor vote on a landmark bill that, among other measures, could open a door to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. Congress needs to act and that moment is now, Obama said in the East Room of the White House. Theres no reason Congress cant get this done by the end of the summer. Theres no good reason to play procedural games or engage in obstruction just to block the best chance that weve had in years to address this problem in a way thats fair to middle class families, business owners and legal immigrants. As last Tuesday ended, a procedural vote to begin formal debate on the bill was approved by the Senate, 82-15 on a bipartisan vote. It marked the first time that attempts to pass an overhaul of immigration laws have gotten this far. The last successful major bill was in 1986, when President Reagan signed an immigration law that legalized 3 million people but did not halt illegal crossings as proposed.

Wilson an advocate for immigration reform

Wilson will sponsor a citizenship mega-workshop in conjunction with the New Americans Campaign, on Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus. She says the goal will be to provide assistance to complete the citizenship application to anyone who believes they are eligible. The Republican Party is comprised of white men who are afraid of the browning of America, she said. They dont want the immigration reform bill to pass because it would give the President another mark of victory. I cant concern myself with the wild notions of the Tea Party that says we need electrified fences along our borders. Theyre talking about Texas, California and Arizona. My district is in Miami, Florida and we have scores of Haitians and Cubans who come to my office every day, many of whom are separated from their families, some who are here on temporary status. They want to better their lives in America and be reunited with their families. Other speakers who participated during the update included: Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor, TheGrio.com; Andy Madtes, president, South Florida AFL-CIO; Fred Frost, director of governmental affairs, S. FL Jobs with Justice; and Jose Gabilondo, associate professor, College of Law, Florida International University. Two intern apprentices with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers [IBEW], Lorvinsky Deriva, 23, and Melvin Trinidad, 28, both of Miami, were introduced by Madtes who said, It is important to make sure we have opportunities for training and development in this and other communities because not everyone wants to go to college. The two interns have just completed their first year in a five-year program. Deriva was born in Haiti and Trinidad moved here from the Dominican Republic. Both said they were in the apprenticeship program in order to improve the quality of their lives and to have a chance for better wages. Our class is made up of four Haitians, three or four Cubans and me, Trinidad said. Its very multicultural just like the United States. I feel good about my future. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com