Yesterday morning, President Obama outlined the “essential elements” of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) in a speech at American University.
Although the audience was filled with various members of the faith-based and immigration advocacy communities (including one very lucky NETWORK associate), the president’s message was primarily directed at members of Congress: “The question now is whether we will have the courage and the political will to pass a bill through Congress, to finally get it done. “
NETWORK is heartened to hear the president address the need for CIR at such a critical time, as states pass and implement drastic anti-immigration measures and the federal government further militarizes the border. Like the president, we call on congress to introduce and pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that:
- Provides a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented
- Eliminates the administrative backlog of permanent resident applications while placing a special emphasis towards family unity
- Restore due process and basic civil liberties to detained individuals
- Expands access to and improves temporary worker programs
As the president reminded us, 11 Republican Senators voted for reform in the past. Many of the principles of the Senate’s current framework mirror previous immigration proposals that these Senators supported. Their absence of support for current efforts to fix our broken system is almost certainly a result of “partisanship and election-year politics”.
As people of faith, we must remind these Senators that the need to reunite families and protect workers from exploitation must transcend short-term political motives.
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For full text of the president’s speech, click here .
"I’ve met with leaders from America’s religious communities...people of different faiths and beliefs, some liberal, some conservative, who nonetheless share a sense of urgency; who understand that fixing our broken immigration system is not only a political issue, not just an economic issue, but a moral imperative as well." --President Obama, July 1, 2010