Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform (BBB) is a network of moderate and conservative faith, law enforcement, business and other leaders working to establish a new consensus on the value of immigrants and immigration to America.
These allies have seen the changing face of America and desire changes to U.S. immigration policy that will strengthen their communities and help new Americans attain the opportunities, skills and status to reach their fullest potential.
Most Americans agree that the U.S. immigration system is broken, but there is less agreement about how our immigration system should work. Our outdated legal immigration system undermines respect for the rule of law. Whenever particular laws are largely ignored and unenforced, the law itself begins to lose its meaning. The best way to address this problem is to reform the legal immigration system, adjusting laws so that they are just and can be consistently enforced in ways that are both humane and economically constructive.
A well-functioning immigration system would recognize the dignity of every migrant, recognize our country’s need for safety and security, honor the rule of law, show compassion and maximize the benefits of immigration both for the United States and for immigrants themselves.
These principles provide a basic foundation for the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform network. Endorsement by faith, law enforcement, business and other leaders shows their commitment to advocating for just and compassionate immigration reform, and adds depth and breadth to the strength of this nationwide network.
For a better immigration system in the United States, we must:
- Recognize the need for safety and security on the border. We have a right to expect the federal government to enforce the laws at our borders. Because border security is a federal issue with national security, economic trade and domestic safety implications, the federal government must fulfill its sovereign responsibilities to enforce the law while ensuring the protection of border communities. We need more legal channels for people to come to the United States for approved purposes. Establishing these legal channels will help give us control over the process and prioritize enforcement resources so that law enforcement can focus on targeting dangerous criminals (such as drug smugglers) and contraband.
- Recognize the need for safety and security in our communities. State and local law enforcement need the trust of their communities to do their primary job, which is to ensure public safety. We can best serve our local communities when we foster strong relationships built on trust. When state and local law enforcement agencies are required to enforce federal immigration laws, immigrant communities may become less likely to cooperate with law enforcement. Therefore, we understand that local and federal authorities must work together to protect our communities, and that we can best serve our communities by leaving the enforcement of immigration laws to the federal government.
- Show compassion and justice to aspiring citizens by allowing them an opportunity to earn lawful status and citizenship. Whether they are Dreamers, recipients of Temporary Protected Status, or others without a current pathway to permanent legal status, these immigrants are part of our communities and our economy and deserve to be treated with dignity. For many of the immigrants striving for citizenship, existing laws and regulations provide no light at the end of the tunnel. Under current law, many people do not qualify for any line to wait in to become fully participating Americans. America needs a just solution for the undocumented immigrants who are currently living here and contributing to the progress and well-being of our communities. We need a solution that both respects the rule of law and compassionately keeps families together, bringing them out of the shadows and allowing them to make restitution for any violation of U.S. immigration laws.
- Continue to be a welcoming and compassionate nation that embraces humanitarian visa programs. Legal protections for refugees, asylum seekers, trafficking victims and others who seek safety in the United States reflect a fundamental American value to protect the vulnerable. These protections allow us to recognize and honor that many of our country’s founders were seeking religious freedom and refuge from persecution. Throughout our nation’s history, Americans — many of them motivated by the teachings of their faith — have helped persecuted people rebuild their lives in this land of safety and freedom. We must preserve and expand these programs.
- Protect family-based immigration as a core aspect of our national values. We should ensure that close families can immigrate together and be reunited expeditiously when they have been separated, recognizing that strong, united families are essential building blocks of society. Family immigration has been the primary basis for migrating to the United States, currently accounting for about 65% of legal immigration each year. Family immigrants tend to invest their human capital after they settle in the U.S., which benefits not only immigrant communities but our economy as a whole. Families are critical for immigrants, providing them with support networks that allow them to find employment and/or start their own businesses. Families also help newcomers better understand American culture, standards and institutions and thus integrate faster.
- Modernize our nation’s laws so that future immigration of workers is legal, fair and orderly. America is the land of freedom and opportunity and will always attract talented and ambitious individuals. The immigrant workforce is an indispensable and growing part of the American economy, and immigrants fill pivotal roles in industries with large labor shortages, such as agriculture and health care. We must fix our work visa system so the entrepreneurs and workers of today — and tomorrow — start companies and create jobs in America. We need a process that celebrates freedom and values hard work across the economic spectrum, welcoming the engineer as well as the farmworker. To keep our economy strong and reduce incentives for unauthorized migration, we should ensure that employment programs have the flexibility to supply enough labor to meet the demand of American businesses when U.S.-born workers are not available. These programs can also help protect national security by providing an effective clearance process by which workers are checked before they enter the country. We also need to respect those who have been in line waiting for a visa by reducing backlogs that often lead to illegal immigration. Our nation deserves a better system that provides more opportunities for immigrants to enter, stay and contribute lawfully.
To add your name as an endorser of these principles, click here.
For questions or to get further involved with the BBB network, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.