Over Twelve-Hundred Pro-Immigrant Groups Sign Letter to New Administration
January 22, 2009
President Obama, Secretary Napolitano: Welcome to D.C. Here Are Some Things We Think You Should Do…
Washington, DC – Over 1,200 advocacy groups delivered a letter to the Obama Administration outlining priorities for immigration reform from the pro-immigrant, pro-immigration perspective. The letter stressed the urgency with which the new Administration should approach immigration reform legislatively and administratively, noting that efforts to address the many ills facing our immigration system have become the victim of gridlock in Washington for too long.
“Over the last eight years, immigrants and their families, employers and workers alike, have suffered from our nation’s inability to find common ground on the issue of immigration reform,” states the letter, which was signed by groups in 39 states plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
Noting the President’s background and the new era his presidency signals, the letter says, “As the son of a Kenyan national and a woman from Kansas, you validate the American dream and we believe that your victory represents a triumph for tolerance and hope.”
Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, the non-partisan advocacy group that helped coordinate the collection of signatures from groups nationwide, said he hopes the Administration acts swiftly to address the most egregious problems with the enforcement practices and last minute regulatory changes of the previous Administration, but noted there is only so much President Obama and his team can do on their own.
“While President Obama can address some matters administratively, ultimately the President must propose and the Congress must enact meaningful, broad immigration reform to bring order to the current chaos,” Noorani said. “Reform that is fair, respects the rights of immigrants and non-immigrants, strengthens our economy, reduces the black market, and gets immigrants and employers playing by one set of enforceable rules should be the goal. We know what needs to be done, now we have to summon the political will and focus the President’s political muscle on making it happen.”
“The urgency for reform cannot be overstated,” the letter says. “Unless and until we recalibrate our policies, all Americans’ rights will be at risk, our communities will be divided and the power of our nation’s fundamental principle of E Pluribus Unum compromised.”
The letter, delivered late last week to the President’s transition team, is part of a broad effort to bring together immigrants, advocacy and civil rights organizations, faith leaders, employers and trade associations, and labor unions in an effort to enact immigration reform as quickly as possible.
“In the 2008 elections, immigrant voters and their families turned out across the nation in unprecedented numbers. They were inspired by your message, including your commitment to a comprehensive reform of our nation’s immigration system. The reform challenge is formidable, but so is our resolve,” the letter states.
Copies of the letter are available here (pdf).