Today, the 12 organizations that make up the CAMBIO coalition came together to respond to S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. CAMBIO believes the bill represents an important step forward in a dialogue that has been painfully stalled for the past five years, but more must be done to make the legislation accountable, moral and balanced.
Margaret Huang, Executive Director of the Rights Working Group, emphasized that, “For the first time, the Senate bill would put in place a prohibition on racial profiling in U.S. federal law. Unfortunately, the language that the ‘Gang of Eight’ has adopted limits the definition of profiling to classifications of race and ethnicity, and it does not limit racial profiling on the basis of national origin or religion. We hope to see this section amended by the Judiciary Committee, and it needs to include all forms of racial profiling, and it needs to eliminate very problematic loopholes that are still in place.”
CAMBIO member Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, told journalists at the press conference, “Congress should know in its deliberations that the American people strongly support upholding fundamental due process and constitutional guarantees in immigration. Though yesterday’s bill introduction was an enormously positive milestone in mapping out a roadmap to citizenship for millions of aspiring Americans, the bill is mistaken in several key provisions, including in its border and E-Verify provisions. As Senator McCain said, this bill is not the final product, and we will work diligently to improve this bill.”
Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights, said that, “We praise the creation of the Border Oversight Task Force in the proposed legislation. This is an accountability mechanism that would be made up of the people living and working at the border – and they know what the border needs. We believe that the so-called border triggers in the bill represent an attempt to further militarize our border communities and to create major obstacles for fair and humane immigration reform.”
Saket Soni, Executive Director of the National Guestworker Alliance, said, “This bill is a good first step, but we need to be really clear that it does not go far enough. We stand here today to make sure that the best in the Senate bill is preserved and expanded. We are not going to let the goalposts be moved on us. We already have certain members of the Congress coming forward to hijack a national tragedy and use it to move the goalposts in the immigration bill. We are going to stand for the best in America, and not the worst in America.”
All of the groups echoed the excitement around working together and moving the legislation forward to finally make the United States immigration system workable. CAMBIO conducted a recent poll that showed strong support by the majority of Americans to consider the circumstances of every case of an individual facing deportation, provide checks and balances for electronic employment verification (E-Verify), and allow workers to stand up against abuses without retaliation.
CAMBIO is a diverse group of organizations advocating for laws and policies that create a fair system for immigrants to become citizens. It’s members include American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU Regional Center for Border Rights, the Border Network for Human Rights, Detention Watch Network, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Guest Worker Alliance, the National Immigration Law Center, Rights Working Group, Immigrant Justice Network, Northern Borders Coalition and the Southern Border Communities Coalition.