Many Sticks to Reach the Carrot
Senate immigration proposal represents opportunity to fix broken system, uphold the promise of the American Dream, and build on the contribution of millions who will emerge from the shadows. But real immigration reform legislation must be measured by how many people reach the finish line, not just how many people start the path.
Los Angeles – Los Angeles – A bipartisan group of senators known as the Gang of 8 charged with drafting a path to citizenship announced it is ready to share the fruit of their labor this week. The proposed immigration reform bill is the first serious attempt in nearly two decades to tackle a broken immigration system. The following is a statement for Angelica Salas, Executive Director with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a regional human and civil rights organization with national impact.
“The introduction of the Senate version for a path to citizenship marks a historic and profound moment in American history. Like generations before, immigrants today, especially immigrant workers who live in the U.S. without documents, will finally have a chance to emerge from the shadows and see their aspirations become part of this nation’s social fabric and vitality. It is a great day in America when our nationally-elected leaders make due on their promise to serve a nation’s people without letting politics hinder them from doing the right thing.
The Senate bipartisan Gang of 8 is to be commended for their hard work in drafting this significant legislation. We have only started to analyze the intricate details in the proposed legislation, yet it is clear a great deal of thought has gone into drafting it. Although the initial draft seems focused on adopting a more stick and less carrot approach to immigration policy, we bow to remain actively engaged with Congress to ensure the final product is a common sense, fair, and inclusive bill.
True, long-lasting immigration reform must include, without exception, a direct and full path to citizenship allowing for millions to start the process AND reach the finish line within a few years, not decades after or at all. The family should remain the cornerstone of America’s immigration policy and no generation should bear the burden of parting with or choosing from one loved one over another. For us to fully support an immigration reform bill it needs to be accessible in terms of cost, fair and realistic in its documentation requirements, contain a responsible and inclusive cut-off date, protect confidentiality, not exclude applicants for minor offenses, eliminate the 3 and 10 year bars, include applicants for asylum, TPS, U-Visa, and VAWA recipients in the expedited process for DACA recipients, and protect from deportation those who would otherwise qualify for the legalization program.
After many years of marching, families who have spoken up, students who would not give up their dreams, leaders who have risked their political careers to do the right thing, and people using their political power by voting, we at last have an immigration bill we can work with. While we believe this proposal is a strong first step, now is time for the American people to actively engage with Congress to ensure the bill is the right one for our families and for America. The political, economic, and moral imperative for legalization has never been clearer and we commend Congress for undertaking the task and moving forward with a bill that will modernize our nation’s immigration laws, honor our history and reflect our values.”