DREAMers React to Immigration Plan
PHOTO: American flags are waved at a rally for immigration reform in Phoenix, Arizona in 2010. A bipartisan group of senators announced a framework for immigration reform in Washington, DC, in January 2013.

The announcement late Sunday night that a bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed upon a framework for immigration reform sparked reactions that ranged from excitement to downright hostility.

Here's a look at how the plan played as details of the framework emerged:

The Supporters

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Reid is "fully supportive of the group's efforts," an aide told the Huffington Post.

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois)

The vocal reform advocated released a statement praising the group's efforts.

"As the President told me in the White House on Friday, immigration reform is his number one priority," he said. "Combine that with a serious bipartisan framework in the Senate and very constructive conversations with my House colleagues in both parties and I am confident we are poised for action and not just more talk on immigration reform."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued a statement in favor of the plan.

"We strongly support the outline for immigration reform issued by the bipartisan group of Senators," read the statement. "We know that many details will need to be worked out, but we are very encouraged by this framework for reform and look forward to helping advance comprehensive immigration legislation and build public support. The Chamber stands ready to work with all stakeholders to enact immigration reform that strengthens our competitiveness, helps us attract and retain the world's best talent and hardest workers, secures our borders, and keeps faith with America's legacy as a welcoming society."

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO)

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund issued a statement praising the plan's commitment to a path to citizenship.

"NALEO Educational Fund applauds the bipartisan efforts of U.S. Senators who today released their framework for moving comprehensive immigration reform forward," read the statement. "The principles acknowledge that our nation is struggling as a result of our broken immigration system, and aims to address this issue in a fair and humane manner that brings the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country today out of the shadows."

National Immigration Forum

Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrants' rights organization, released a statement praising the plan.

"We are pleased to see our political leaders in both parties prioritize broad, commonsense immigration reform, starting with their announcement of these principles. For these Republicans and Democrats to be leading their parties forward speaks volumes. Creating a 21st century immigration process won't be easy, but the framework the senators are proposing is a powerful and practical start to the legislative process, and it will make the peaks and valleys ahead much easier to traverse," he said. "The bipartisan support surrounding immigration reform is unlike nearly any other issue facing Congress because people who hold a Bible, wear a badge or own a business want a commonsense immigration system. And today's debate on immigration is fundamentally different from previous reform efforts for exactly the same reason."

United Farm Workers

The UFW said in a statement that they welcome the plan.

"We thank this bipartisan group of Republicans and Democrats for understanding that a roadmap to citizenship is essential to any immigration reform plan. We also endorse the proposal's commitment to strong labor protections as part of any future flow program and allowing temporary workers who have worked in this country for many years to earn green cards," said UFW Arturo S. Rodriguez in a statement.

Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK

The religious leader, and head of progressive Catholic lobby NETWORK, voiced her support for the recognition given to DREAMers in the plan during a Monday news conference.

"As a people of faith, we have great hope today," she said.

"We were grateful to see that the Senate addressed that reality for DREAMers," Campbell said, referring to the fact that many DREAMers have been in the country for years and don't know another home.

Some said the plan represents a step in the right direction, but voiced reservations, among them that LGBT families may be left out of the plan's call to keep immigrant families together.

Philip Wolgin, an immigration policy analyst with the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, agreed that same-sex partners were left vulnerable.

"Very true, big absence RT @petejryan: One thing not in blueprint: perm residency sponsorship provision for same sex partners #immigration," he tweeted.

Asian American Justice Center

"Finally it looks as if commonsense immigration reform will become a reality," Mee Moua, president and executive director of the Asian American Justice Center, said on a news call on Monday. "We are pleased to see that the senate's principles reflect our beliefs."

But Moua also noted that the plan doesn't specifically include LGBT families and urged Congress and the White House to make sure they receive the same benefits as other immigrant families.

Brad Bailey

The Republican co-founder of the Texas Immigration Solution and vocal advocate of a guest-worker program supports the plan, but says the "devil is in the details," and he'll be watching carefully to see how those are worked out.

"Enacting reform requires earning the trust and confidence of the American people who want solutions, and I applaud these Senators, and especially Senator Rubio for leading," he said in a statement to ABC/Univision. " Sen. Rubio is correct. If we don't solve the immigration issue we have "de facto" amnesty — and that doesn't help anyone! While I am excited about the Senators immigration reform principles, I'd push this group to be more specific. What are the details of 'practical roadmap'? Conservatives, like the 10,000+ delegates to the Texas and National Republican Party conventions, will strongly and loudly support you if you'll honestly work out the details and have the courage to come tell us what you are for and why."

Those Unsure of Its Long-term Effectiveness

Immigration Works USA

Immigration Works USA president Tamar Jacoby said in a statement that immigration reform is a positive thing, but cautioned that it needs to create legal ways for new immigrants to enter the country.

"Finding a solution for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants already in the country addresses the mistakes of the past but fixes nothing going forward. Unless we create ways for the immigrants of the future to enter legally, we're going to find ourselves in exactly the same predicament a decade or two down the road – wondering what to do about 10 or 20 million unauthorized immigrants living among us but beyond the rule of law."

Some DREAMers decried the plan, in part because it calls for a secure border before undocumented immigrants may embark on a path to citizenship. They said the plan simply gives the appearance of a path to citizenship while in reality allowing other parts of the plan to obstruct that process.

United We Dream Network

Greisa Martinez, a DREAMer from Dallas, TX and member of United We Dream's National Coordinating Committee said in a statement that DREAMers will be watching to see how the details of the plan progress.

The time for action on immigration reform has come. Political leaders must end out-of-control detentions and deportations that have caused too much pain for our families and communities already. Neither party can afford to delay or shirk their responsibility to the American people to fix our broken immigration system and create a path to citizenship for 11 million Americans without papers. The details matter and DREAMers will be watching closely and holding Democrats and Republicans accountable.

DRM Action Coalition

The DRM Action Coalition, an organization of young undocumented immigrants, retweeted a remark from a DREAMer that said, "'Once the border is secure' undocumented can get green-cards but only by going to the back of the line – So no path to citizenship really."

The group later tweeted, "Not happy well DO SOMETHING ABOUT and let your members of Congress hear you IN PERSON! Not just over the phone…"

Erika Andiola

The high-profile DREAMer and Kyrsten Sinema staffer appeared unconvinced that the plan will lead to action in her response to a question she received on Twitter about the fact that the plan includes some preferences for DREAMers and farm workers.

"same old :/," she replied.


The powerful labor organization praised the plan but said it is concerned with some of the details.

"Much remains to be seen on the details of that path, and each detail can have significant consequences for millions of aspiring citizens. For instance, we are concerned that making the citizenship path consistent on proof of employment at the time enforcement measures are deemed completed could be problematic," AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in a statement. "Depending on implementation, the principles could potentially exclude millions of workers—those who care for our children and our elderly, mow our lawns and repair our homes, drive taxis--who cannot prove employment because they have been forced to work off the clock or have no employer by virtue of being independent contractors. It would also exclude immigrants who are employers themselves. We hope that this sort of acknowledgement of economic reality informs the actual bill drafting process."

Those Who Neither Endorsed Nor Rejected It

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)

A spokesman for Boehner gave a noncommittal response to the Washington Post on whether the House speaker supports the plan.

Boehner "welcomes the work of leaders like Sen. Rubio on this issue, and is looking forward to learning more about the proposal in the coming days," he told the paper.

Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Florida)

The conservative representative said in a statement that he looked forward to working with the Senate on making immigration reform a reality.

"Although we have not seen the legislation text, the principles released today are compatible with the discussions in the House. The prospect of true immigration reform can only happen with bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, and today's news is a step in that direction. I commend the dedicated efforts of the group. We look forward to working with the Senate and President Obama to find a real, permanent solution."

Those Who Think the Framework Amounts to "Amnesty"

Numbers USA

Numbers USA, which advocates reduced immigration numbers and opposes what they call "amnesty," released a statement opposing the plan and urged people to call three members of Congress and tell them they oppose "amnesty."

"Tell your Three Members of Congress how ridiculous it is that Members of Congress are rushing on immigration reform just to stay ahead of Pres. Obama's announcement that's expected on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Also tell your Members that an amnesty is premature before E-Verify is mandated, an entry-exit system to track non-immigrant visa holders is complete, and chain migration and the visa lottery have been eliminated," they wrote.

Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas)

Smith, who has taken a hardline stance on immigration reform, said the plan would increase illegal immigration.

Center for Immigration Studies

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, DC-based group that opposes a path to citizenship and that the Southern Poverty Law Center has decried as anti-immigrant, said the plan would be devastating to Republicans seeking reelection.

"The Republicans will lose the House in 2014 because why would Republicans come out to vote for people who supported something like this?" he said. "It would be as though a Republican House enacted a legislative version of Roe v. Wade."

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