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National Call for Immigration Reform

By March 30, 2006 No Comments

Downloadable:  English and Korean press statements

JPress Statement
For Immediate Release                         Contact: Alvaro Huerta, 213.353.1789,
March 22, 2005                                       ahuerta@chirla.org (English & Spanish)
                                            
                                                                             EunSook Lee, 323.937.3703,
                                             elee@nakasec.org (English & Korean)
                                                              

National Call for Immigration Reform

This week, President George W. Bush is scheduled to meet with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.  The three world leaders are set to discuss ways to strengthen North America’s common security and enhance the region’s shared prosperity. While their dialogue is expected to center primarily on trade and commerce, there is no avoiding a conversation about an issue intimately linked to the economic and social well being of all three neighboring countries, and of utmost importance to the American people – immigration reform.

No matter where you stand on the issue, all of us can agree that the American immigration system is broken.  Family members of U.S. residents and U.S. citizens wait years – even decades – to be reunited with their loved ones.  Workers are intimidated and exploited by unscrupulous employers.  Talented students with dreams of pursuing a higher education have their hopes shattered.  Thousands have died at the border while trying to pursue a better life for themselves and their families.

Immigrants work hard, pay taxes, learn English, and want to be citizens.  They build strong families and strong communities and they dream of a brighter, better future for their children.  Immigrants love America and serve side-by-side with US-born soldiers to defend our country’s principles.  They are our neighbors, family members, students, members of our society, and an essential part of the future of the United States.

As leaders from the business, labor, faith, ethnic, legal, academic, and human rights communities, we are uniting in a national call to urge our leaders to take immediate action towards pursuing immigration reform that rewards work, creates a path towards citizenship, ensures rights for workers – U.S. born and immigrant – and reunites families.  The President and Congress must now put aside party lines and work together towards a comprehensive approach that makes sense for America and its newcomers.

Since immigration reform is not a concern exclusive to the United States, Congress and the Administration should also look to enlightened international examples.  Countries like Spain are taking a more realistic and humane approach to the challenge of immigration by simplifying the path to legal recognition.  Such nations are acknowledging the social and economic contributions of immigrants while pursuing more effective security policies that do not target hardworking immigrants and their families.

When will the United States pursue a similarly sophisticated and forward-looking approach?

President Bush, President Fox and Prime Minister Martin should not miss this timely opportunity to discuss comprehensive immigration reform that is sensible, realistic, and fair to hard-working immigrants and their families.  Mexico, Canada, and the United States have a responsibility to each other and to their residents.  

The time has come for them to act on that responsibility.

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A number of community leaders in the business, labor, faith, academic, ethnic, legal, and human rights communities are available for public comment on the contents of this statement.  If you would like to contact them, please call Alvaro Huerta at (213) 353.1789 or e-mail ahuerta@chirla.org.