Weakening Core Pillars of the Bill Jeopardizes Bipartisan Support
Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have filed their proposed amendments to Senate immigration bill S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. After initial analysis, CAMBIO partners made the following observations:
“We remain committed to working with Committee members on both sides of the aisle to create an immigration system that reflects America’s deepest-held values,” said Marielena Hincapié of the National Immigration Law Center.
“We need immigration laws that create a broad and inclusive path to full citizenship, not more of the same draconian detention and deportation policies,” added Margaret Huang of Rights Working Group.
Added Fernando Garcia, Border Network for Human Rights, “This legislation must create a workable, common-sense roadmap to citizenship. It should not be filled with roadblocks that make it impossible for immigrants to achieve the dream of citizenship, nor must it contain deportation provisions that make our communities less safe and punish Southern Border communities with increased militarization.”
Public opinion polling shows that a bipartisan majority of Americans want common sense immigration reform that protects human rights along the border, promotes due process and strengthens worker protections.
Republicans, Democrats and independents alike overwhelmingly support stronger safeguards in the federal employment database, and stricter enforcement of wage and safety standards. They favor giving higher priority to stopping drugs and weapons from crossing the border than to stopping people, and support giving judges the opportunity to weigh the circumstances of an immigrant’s case before ordering deportation, even when the immigrant has committed an offense.
Dozens of amendments filed by senators on the Judiciary Committee fall far short of what voters support. They seek to strip out provisions meant to ensure that the legislation would respect human and civil rights, and ensure healthy communities at the Southern Border.
Senators on both sides of the aisle need to find the courage to do what is both right and popular. Orwellian demands that immigrants’ blood samples be taken, or insisting upon ever more militarization of our border, push us further from the type of immigration system so many of us demanded last November.
CAMBIO believes that an overhaul of our immigration system is long overdue. The last effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform failed, in part, because the proposed legislation did not create a fair and workable system. The current draft of the bill is already severely compromised. For the sake of the best values in our society, our elected leaders must press ahead to ensure that a humane and common sense approach to reforming our immigration laws becomes a reality.
CAMBIO is a diverse group of organizations advocating for laws and policies that create a fair system for immigrants to become citizens; bans indefinite detention; guarantees due process for everyone in the United States; makes enforcement systems accountable; protects civil and human rights; encourages a better border to protect the quality of life in the borderlands, prevents the abuse of vulnerable Americans; and keeps families together. Its 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, Southern Border Communities Coalition, Immigrant Justice Network, and Northern Borders Coalition.
More information about CAMBIO can be found on the web at www.CAMBIO-US.org and on Twitter @CAMBIOtoday.