Framework Is Powerful, Practical Start
Washington, D.C — A bipartisan group of senators will officially release a framework today for broad immigration reform that includes a conditional path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The plan also includes reforms to the legal immigration system based upon the needs of the economy, creation of an employment verification system and an improved process for admitting future workers. Many of the details have yet to be hammered out, but legislation is expected to be drafted by March.
The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:
“We are pleased to see our political leaders in both parties prioritize broad, commonsense immigration reform, starting with their announcement of these principles. For these Republicans and Democrats to be leading their parties forward speaks volumes. Creating a 21st century immigration process won’t be easy, but the framework the senators are proposing is a powerful and practical start to the legislative process, and it will make the peaks and valleys ahead much easier to traverse.
“The bipartisan support surrounding immigration reform is unlike nearly any other issue facing Congress because people who hold a Bible, wear a badge or own a business want a commonsense immigration system. And today’s debate on immigration is fundamentally different from previous reform efforts for exactly the same reason.
“These ‘Bibles, Badges and Business’ leaders have worked together over the past two years to forge a new consensus on immigrants and America. Thanks to their leadership in the Mountain West, Midwest and Southeast, and in Washington, D.C., today’s framework is an articulation of that bipartisan consensus.
“What lies ahead will not be easy, and compromise will be necessary. But leaders in both parties are clearly ready to do their jobs and create an immigration process that serves the needs of all Americans.
Democratic and Republican Lawmakers Agree: Citizenship Will Be A Part of Immigration Bill
Calls for real immigration reform that includes citizenship were made loud and clear on the Sunday morning show roundup. Between Senators John McCain and Robert Menedez on ABC’s “This Week,” to Senator Dick Durbin on Fox News Sunday, to Rep. Paul Ryan on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the evidence that immigration reform will become reality for 11 million immigrants in 2013 is crystal clear.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund, “It’s thrilling to see the calls for citizenship from across the political spectrum. While there’s still much to be worked out regarding the requirements and the timeline for those aspiring to be citizens, the debate has taken a clear shift from ‘is immigration reform going to happen’ to ‘what kind of path to citizenship will it include.’ As the dialogue continues to evolve over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to fight to ensure that a clear and simple path to full citizenship is the centerpiece of whatever legislation becomes law.”
SEIU’s International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina issued the following statement:
“Tomorrow, President Obama will announce his plan for immigration reform, reaffirming his pledge to make this his top legislative priority in 2013. Now comes word that Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are placing on the table their own framework for a legislative package that includes a pathway to citizenship.
“This bipartisan effort shows how much momentum there is for real commonsense immigration reform that sustains our economy and values workers, families and our heritage as a nation of immigrants.
“It’s great to see Senators from both parties working together to accomplish something so important for our nation’s future. Congress is catching up to what the public has supported for a long while now: the nation needs a long-term fix for the immigration system that includes a path to full citizenship for immigrants here without papers. We all understand that a well-functioning immigration system will help grow our economy and raise the wage floor for all workers.
“In a recent bipartisan poll, almost four out of five voters said they back a system that would include earned citizenship, require immigrants to pay taxes, hold employers accountable for hiring legal workers and prevent them from exploiting immigrant labor and improving border security.
“We know that there is still a long way to go and that details will be worked out in coming weeks, but we are very encouraged by the Senate’s push forward. We are also aware that the House is engaging in a similar process, and we look forward to hearing from them as well.”
“It’s up to Congress to get something done. The time is now.”
National LGBT Civil Rights Org Calls for Clarification from Bipartisan Group of Senators Working on Immigration Reform
GetEQUAL applauds attempts to reform our broken immigration system but seeks clarifications
GetEQUAL applauds the bipartisan attempt to pass inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform in 2013, yet remains attentive to emerging details to ensure that some of the most vulnerable immigrants are not left behind. Although the framework announced by a bipartisan group of influencial Senators this morning is a good step forward, we need greater clarity before analyzing the real benefits it will have for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) immigrants in the United States. The principles released by Senators Schumer, McCain, Durbin, Graham, Menendez, Rubio, Bennet, and Flake this morning include:
• Pathway to citizenship
• Family unification
• Greater border enforcement
• Employment verification
• Greater internal enforcement of immigration laws within the country
«The devil is always in the details. We don’t yet know if important provisions that would protect LGBT immigrants such as the Uniting American Families Act will be included in a Senate bill. Although we are happy that the DREAM Act and AgJobs have been included in this bill, we are still eary of possible barriers and restrictions to a pathway to citizenship. A convoluted and difficult process for citizenship may still leave millions of immigrants behind,» said Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, National Field Director of GetEQUAL who is eligible for the DREAM Act.
Sousa-Rodriguez continued, «The current criminalization of undocumented immigrants has resulted in almost two million deportations — more enforcement would only lead to greater pain in immigrant communities. Our borders have become more militarized, leaving border communities in shambles and thousands dead trying to get to the U.S. Many immigrants cross the border seeking protection because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. As we learn more about the Senate principles and hear President Obama’s immigration framework tomorrow, we hope the President specifically outlines a proposal that fully integrates the needs of LGBT immigrants in the United States. We also think that E-verify could cause greater stress for LGBT workers, since Americans can be legally discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in 29 states and on the basis of gender identity in 34 states. This system may become yet another barrier for LGBT Americans to find jobs in this tough economy.»
GetEQUAL will continue fighting for inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform in order to protect LGBT immigrants who often suffer abuses in detention centers and have no way to adjust their immigration status under the current system. GetEQUAL calls for an immigration reform bill that includes a fair and humane pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., the DREAM Act, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), and an end to the one-year ban for asylum seekers. We hope that Congress passes good, humane policy that puts 11 million undocumented people into a pathway to citizenship that is fair and it protects their dignity as individuals in this country.