National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America


White House Confirms Immigration Reform Will Be Addressed This Year

April 09, 2009


Broad Support for Reform and National Mobilization Will Help Make President’s Promise A Reality


Washington, DCToday’s front page of the New York Times reports that President Barack Obama is developing his strategy to push for comprehensive immigration reform legislation, including a legalization component for undocumented immigrants.  The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-Partisan pro-immigrant advocacy organization based in Washington.


This is more evidence that the President is going to make-good on his campaign promise to push for immigration reform in his first year in office. 


The American people are tired of hearing politicians talk for years about problems only to watch politics and partisanship get in the way of real solutions.  President Obama is about change, action, solving problems, and follow-through.  Ultimately it is up to Congress to act, but the President’s leadership is a crucial ingredient.


Comprehensive immigration reform will reduce illegal immigration, ensure that workers are here legally, will punish unscrupulous employers who undercut their honest competitors, and will restore fairness to the labor market.  When it is harder for employers to cheat immigrants, it’s also harder for them to cheat us as well.  The goal is to put all workers on a level playing field, lift wages for workers, restore tax fairness, and eliminate the unfair advantage for employers playing fast and loose with the law.


The benefit to immigrant and non-immigrant workers and honest employers is even more important when the economy is hurting.  How can you fix the U.S. economy when five percent of the workforce is outside the system, uncovered by minimum wage, OSHA, and other labor laws?  How can American workers assert their rights when so many have none?  This is why we need reform now.


Let’s be clear, we will not deport or expel 12,000,000 immigrants who are here illegally, so we need to do something to get them in the system, weed out the criminal element, and make sure we know who is here and who is coming to this country and why.  The deportation approach is a delusion and we cannot wait for something that will never happen.  The President understands this reality and is showing the way forward.


During this congressional recess, over 200 visits are scheduled with Members of Congress in support of comprehensive immigration reform.  Labor, faith, advocacy, family, and community-based organizations are already mobilizing to support the President and make it clear to Congress and the country that we need reform this year. 


We praise the President and his team for getting the ball rolling.


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