1) IMMIGRATION REFORM MUST INCLUDE A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP FOR ALL 11 MILLION
A path to citizenship must be broad, simple, and affordable for the 11 million aspiring citizens in the US.
Employment restrictions referenced in the principles introduced in the bi-partisan Senate plan threaten to exclude significant numbers of workers — such as day laborers, temporary agency workers, workers paid in cash in restaurants, landscapers and more, as well as stay-at-home fathers or mothers.
Fines cannot be so steep that low income families are unable to afford the process, and the process should not be so cumbersome that workers with “probationary status” need to apply twice. A reasonable fee would be $200 per person, given that many youth eligible for Deferred Action are unable to apply because of cost.
There’s no need to make the path to citizenship conditional on increased border enforcement, when we already have record low numbers of migration, and cruel enforcement policies which have only led to a human rights crisis at the border.
2) KEEP OUR FAMILIES TOGETHER: STOP THE DEPORTATIONS
The president cannot propose legislation to create new citizens while simultaneously deporting at a record rate those he claims to want to legalize.
Each day that passes, 1,000 families are separated from their loved ones and face economic hardship and emotional trauma — especially the children. Legislative reform should address the criminalization of immigrant workers that represent no danger to society, such as minor traffic infractions or re-entry charges. Inclusion of all families in an immigration reform bill must extend to all permanent partners, i.e. the LGBT community.
3) WORKER RIGHTS PROTECTIONS
Any future flow system needs to ensure strong worker rights protections regardless of immigration status, so unscrupulous employers cannot use immigrant labor as cheap labor or retaliation, undermining wages and conditions for all workers in the US. Expand U-visa qualification to cases where employers have retaliated against immigrant workers who’ve been organizing or for labor violations such as terminations and wage theft.
4) FUTURE FLOWS
The number of visas for jobs and families should match the need.
Provisions should reflect the demand of worker visas, ensuring that immigrant workers are not exploited nor are US workers undermined. This would significantly lower the number of unlawful entries.