National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

Media

It’s Do or Die on Immigration Reform

June 28, 2007

Washington, DCThe following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a pro-immigrant advocacy group in Washington.


We believe the choice is clear:  A status quo destined to get worse or a comprehensive bill destined to get better; action and courage on a difficult policy issue, or paralysis and finger-pointing; national policy that combines tough enforcement at the border and at the workplace with legalization of immigrants and immigration, or arbitrary federal enforcement made worse by a patchwork of state and local anti-immigrant ordinances;  listening to the quiet majority who want reform or caving to the militant minority who make noise. 


We call on the Senate to take action, support reform, stand up to polarization, and get to yes.  Here is our case for supporting cloture and final passage of the Senate immigration bill. 


·         It has the right architecture for replacing the chaos and illegality of the current system with enforceable laws effectively enforced.


·         It is the most serious effort in U.S. history to reduce illegal border crossings and crack down on illegal hiring. 


·         It will legalize most of the 12 million undocumented immigrants through a multi-step, multi-year process that recognizes reality and the contributions of workers that constitute 5% of the nation’s workforce.


·         It enables aspiring high school graduates and hardworking farm workers to realize their dreams of becoming full members of American society.


·         It clears most of the family backlog in 8 years, lines that currently stretch some 22 years.


·         It enables needed workers to come on airplanes, with visas, and with labor rights, rather than with smugglers, fake documents, and no labor rights.


·         It represents the first round of a three round legislative reform process, and we are confident that the next two rounds will provide ample opportunity for needed improvements.


The cost of inaction will be high.  Let’s not sugarcoat it.  If the Senate fails to approve comprehensive immigration reform this week, major changes to our broken immigration system are dead for this Congress.  The consequences?


·         Inconsistent, ineffective, arbitrary enforcement that will continue to frustrate the American people who hunger for a solution.


·         Continuing abuse of undocumented workers lacking legal immigration options, a dynamic that will continue to undercut the bargaining power of American workers. 


·         Unscrupulous employers gaining an unfair advantage over businesses that follow the rules.


·         Labor migration driven further into a black market dominated by criminal smugglers and fake document merchants.


·         Increased local frustration that will generate a patchwork of local and state policies that will divide communities and solve nothing. 


·         More deaths in the desert, more workplace raids, more family separation, and more hostility toward immigrant workers and families.


The stakes are too high to allow failure or inertia to prevail.  We strongly urge the Senate to take a giant step this week towards workable immigration reform.  Vote yes on cloture.  Vote yes on final passage. 


 

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