National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


On Comprehensive Immigration Reform, “I Take the President at His Word,” Advocate Says

June 09, 2005

Washington, DCSeveral news agencies reported today that the White House intends to promote its immigration reform proposals in a new and ramped up way.  After meeting with the President, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) indicated to several reporters that the President, in a break from his stated principles of reform, intends to push for enhanced border security first, before pushing for a fix to America’s broken legal immigration system.  Angela Kelley, Deputy Director of the National Immigration Forum, reacted with the following statement.

I have every confidence that the President will follow through on his commitment to comprehensive reform of our broken immigration system.  He has been both forceful and eloquent about the problems we face because of out-dated immigration policies and I take the President at his word that he is committed to addressing immigration reform sooner rather than later. 

Already, a bipartisan team of legislators in both houses of Congress have taken the President’s principles and carefully crafted legislation to implement his vision for reform.  The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act of 2005 (S. 1033/H.R. 2330), introduced in both houses in May, is a serious, workable plan to modernize our border and immigration policies so that they work for America and all Americans.  While I hope the President eventually embraces this plan, we know that whatever approach he endorses will be true to the principles he has outlined.

A key breakthrough that is embodied in the Secure America Act is that stringent enforcement of immigration, border security, and employment eligibility policies are crucial to success.  But enforcement alone will not enhance security nor reduce the deadly and chaotic mayhem on the border, absent major reforms of our legal immigration system.  Fixing our family and employment visa system, creating a reliable and instant employment verification system, and putting immigration on a legal footing, must accompany – not follow – any serious enforcement enhancements, if they are to succeed.

The Secure America Act has the broad-based support to pass and the carefully nuanced policy prescriptions to work on the ground.  I am sure the President, having elevated the visibility of this issue and the expectations of millions concerned with immigration laws, will follow through on his commitment to work with Congress to enact legislation.

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