Immigration Coalition Statement on Senate Hearing
By Mel Fabrikant Thursday, February 14, 2013, 10:58 AM EST
Presente.org, National Association of Latino and Caribbean Communities, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, Cunetame
We, the undersigned national organizations call on the US Senate and President Obama for just and humane immigration reform that we voted for in the 2012 elections. We call on President Obama and Congress to propose concrete legislation that legalizes all 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants and to steer clear of the failed trade-off equation – increasing “border security” and interior enforcement in exchange for what could become an obstructed, unnecessarily long path to citizenship.
We are encouraged by President Obama's statement in January, reaffirming his commitment to “find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity.” Finding that better way requires reconciling with the results of the immigration policies of the President’s first term. In direct contrast to the values the President proclaimed in his inauguration and immigration speeches, our communities are, in fact, still being torn apart by the each day by deportation policies under the President’s control. More than 1.6 million people have been deported in the past four years and another 1,100 continue to be deported every day. The path to citizenship should start with a stop to deportations.
The moment to push for a courageous new direction for immigration is now.
Together we call for:
1. An immediate halt to deportations.
2. A meaningful path to reform begins with the President himself setting an example. He can end the immigration enforcement practices that have led the President to deport
3. more people than during any previous administration. Good faith requires that the President stop mass deportations now. Not one more. The next person being deported this very minute could be a student who knows only this country as his or her home, or it could
4. be a father doing everything he can to provide for his family. Real reform begins in the White House and it begins with ending deportations.
1. Full inclusion for all 11 million.
2. The path to citizenship must happen quickly and without unnecessary barriers - high fees, language requirements, unfair employment verification that disqualifies stay-at-home parents and grandparents and any other obstacles. Decades spent getting to the back
3. of an imaginary line is too long to wait for citizenship. Immigration reform must provide political equality to all 11 million without dividing the immigrant community into the accepted and those relegated to a second-class excluded from civic life.
1. Inclusion of authentic community voices
2. and respected experts in the immigration debate. Officials and stakeholders in the immigration debate must engage the voice most often excluded from the debate: the voice of immigrants themselves. The experience and input of undocumented immigrants is crucial
3. to a truly transparent, democratic process. Experts, scholars, grassroots advocates and allied community members are available to respond and deepen the conversation, but its center must be undocumented immigrants speaking for themselves. The media, President
4. Obama and Congress have a responsibility to include these stakeholders, rather than rely solely on pundits, Washington lobbyists, and anti-immigration, restrictionist organizations. Our communities are ready to engage as experts in their own lives and with
5. the latest data at the intersections of the economy, labor, detention and deportation, and human rights.