Great stuff, let’s get this done! And if anti-immigrant Republicans block it, vote them out of office in November!
|Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights Announces 2019 General Assembly Legislative Agenda
VIRGINIA– Today the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR) held a press conference to support proposed legislation providing in-state tuition, driving privileges, and protection against wage theft for undocumented Virginians.
Immigrant justice advocates in Virginia are looking for ways to meet some of the immigrant community’s principal needs. VACIR is working in conjunction with state lawmakers to introduce legislation that would improve the lives of the nearly 272,000 undocumented immigrants living in Virginia.
In-state tuition for undocumented Virginians is a major priority for the coalition. 44% of undocumented Virginians are between the ages of 16-34, making them of college age. Attending college is one of the best ways to provide upward mobility for young adults.
VACIR state committee members are also supporting legislation that would provide driving privileges to undocumented Virginians who have obtained the necessary requirements to become licensed drivers. A 2016 report from The Commonwealth Institute found that removing barriers to obtaining driver’s licenses improves motorist safety, boosts Virginia’s economy and betters the lives of immigrant communities.
Wage theft is the illegal underpayment or nonpayment of a worker’s wages. Wage theft happens in a variety of ways including refusing to pay undocumented workers the minimum wage, stealing workers tips, and even giving workers paychecks that bounce. VACIR is committed to supporting legislation that protects workers from such atrocious practices.
“As an undocumented immigrant myself, the issues discussed here resonate deep in me. I know what it’s like to be unable to drive. I know what it’s like to wonder if college is an option for me. I know what it’s like to be deprived of my liberty because when you deny someone’s access to basic rights and privileges, you’re denying them their individual liberty”, says Steve Yoo, Campaigns Coordinator at NAKASEC.
“ For over eight years, undocumented students like me have fought to gain access to in-state tuition. Now more than ever I’m being targeted because of my immigration status and I feel as though nobody cares about my education. What makes my education any different than any other Virginian student”, says Haziel Andrade, VCU student, and VIIA and Undocurams representative.
“In the last year VACIR has grown from sixteen member organizations to twenty-nine. These organizations have not only come together in the defense of immigrant rights, but to proactively play key roles for the improvement in lives of Virginia immigrants”, says Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director for the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights. “For the 2019 session those initiatives start with driving privileges, instate tuition, and wage theft. For far too long Virginia immigrants have not been granted basic human dignities that have existed in other states for decades. We at VACIR along with our member organizations proudly stand in support for a better quality of life for the Virginia immigrant community”.
Join VACIR as we remind our legislators that an attack on undocumented Virginians is divisive and hazardous for the stability and security of all Americans.
VACIR is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalition of organizations that exists to win dignity, power and quality of life for all immigrant and refugee communities.