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Dear Editor:
The National Immigration Forum issued the following Press Release today:

Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, praised Rep. Richard Gephardt's introduction today of legislation to legalize millions of hard working undocumented immigrants.

"Rep. Gephardt is showing his courage by demonstrating bold leadership on this issue," Sharry said. "Mr. Gephardt is stepping up to the plate to recognize that comprehensive immigration reform is needed for the American economy and the millions of immigrants who must live at the margins of society because of our broken immigration system."

"Legalization for hard working immigrants is a key component of comprehensive immigration reform," Sharry said, "and Mr. Gephardt's announcement is a crucial first step. But," Sharry continued, "in addition to an earned legalization program and an expansion of family visas, we also need expanded availability of work visas to open the legal channels through which immigrants will come in the future. Furthermore, we need the cooperation of our neighbors in making our borders safe, to crack down on smuggling syndicates, and to end the deadly chaos our current immigration system has created."

"What remains to be seen is whether both parties can come together to enact legislation," Sharry continued. "Traditionally, there has been considerable bipartisan support for fair and generous immigration reform in the Senate, which is very promising."

"It is our hope that President Bush will re-engage in efforts to make our policies realistic and functional," Sharry noted. "When he meets with Mexican President Vicente Fox later this month, he will have the opportunity to re-energize talks aimed at comprehensive immigration reform."

"It's no longer a question of if, but of when, and who will lead the process," Sharry said. "There is too much momentum at the grassroots and in Washington, from business and labor, among Democrats and certain thoughtful Republicans for comprehensive immigration reform not to happen."

Douglas G. Rivlin
Director of Communication
National Immigration Forum