In Midst of Government Shutdown, Immigration Rights Activists Continue to Pressure Congress to Adopt Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Posted Oct. 16, 2013

Interview with Christian Ramírez, director of the U.S.-Mexico Border Program of AFSC, conducted by Scott Harris


Although the nation’s attention is focused on the political conflict in Washington that led to the government shutdown and concern about default resulting from inaction on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, immigrant rights activists continue to push for immigration reform legislation. Due to the shutdown, forward motion on most legislative efforts have been stalled, but eight members of Congress made the decision to be arrested with 200 other activists in front of the Capitol building on Oct. 8 in order to draw attention back to the immigration reform debate.

Members of Congress and activists who were blocking streets in front of the Capitol building were arrested as part of a planned act of non-violent civil disobedience coinciding with the “Camino Americano Rally and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect” organized to send a message to House Speaker John Boehner and Republican leaders to bring pending immigration bills up for a vote. An estimated 15,000 people participated in the pro-immigration reform rally on the National Mall.

While the U.S. Senate passed an immigration reform bill in June, that included billions of dollars for increased border security and a 13-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the U.S., the House has yet to take action on several narrowly focused GOP-sponsored legislative proposals, none of which embraces a path to citizenship. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Christian Ramírez, director of the U.S.- Mexico Border Program of the American Friends Service Committee. Here he talks about the continuing effort by immigrant rights activists pushing Congress to adopt comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Find more information on the U.S.-Mexico Border Program of the American Friends Service Committee at

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