|Momentum Keeps Building for Immigration Reform|
|Border & Immigration Reform|
|Thursday, May 21 2009 20:13|
Yesterday, May 20th, four (yes, four!) notable events indicate that momentum continues to build in Washington to debate immigration reform this year. President Obama announced that he is inviting members of Congress to a summit at the White House on June 8th to discuss reforming our nation's immigration policies. Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Gillibrand, (D-NY), Kennedy (D-MA), and Schumer (D-NY) introduced the Reuniting Families Act, legislation that would resolve family immigration backlogs, recapture unused visas, and promote timely reunification of immigrant families. The Senate Immigration Subcommittee held its second immigration hearing titled "Securing the Borders and America's Points of Entry, What Remains to Be Done." Also the Police Foundation released a report titled "The Role of Local Police: Striking a Balance Between Immigration Enforcement and Civil Liberties" on the impact and costs of immigration enforcement by local police.
On the White House Summit: President Obama continues to reiterate his commitment to launching the debate on immigration reform this year. We are encouraged by the President's leadership in convening members of Congress at the White House to begin fleshing out the key components of an immigration overhaul. The June 8th Summit not only keeps the ball rolling, but will increase its speed.
On the Immigration Subcommittee Hearing: Senator Schumer (D-NY) and his Subcommittee Members are showing that the Senate is ready for immigration reform this year. Yesterday's hearing shows an understanding of the complexities of the border security challenges we face and the need to examine the border not in isolation but within an integrated immigration and border approach. El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles, a member of the U.S.-Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force, in particular, provided the panel with the insights of on-the-ground, on-the-border law enforcement and emphasized that local policing on the border is ineffective if required to enforce immigration laws.
On the Reuniting Families Act: The goal of immigration reform is to create an immigration system that people will utilize, not try to circumvent, but some people applying for visas today will not be able to come legally until 2031, which is completely unacceptable. The Reuniting Families Act recognizes that the huge backlog for family immigration visas impedes legal immigration and must be addressed as part of a comprehensive approach to reforming immigration. Like the AgJOBS bill (S. 1038/HR. 2414) and the DREAM Act (S. 729/HR. 1751), the Reuniting Families Act is a building block of the broader reforms we need.
On the Police Foundation Report: When leading law enforcement experts tell Congress that enforcement measures aimed at making us safer actually do the opposite, Congress should listen. The data in the report confirm that communities suffer when law enforcement officers are distracted from their core functions to engage in immigration enforcement efforts. Community policing is damaged when crime victims and witnesses avoid contacting the police and when scarce resources are diverted to what should be a federal enforcement function. Today's report is just one more piece of evidence that we need comprehensive immigration reform to restore the rule of law, respect civil rights, and enhance public safety.
|Last Updated on Sunday, September 13 2009 18:32|