Few people dispute the need for immigration reform. The current system is an untenable mishmash of procedures, prohibitions, and penalties that are at odds with our national interests and history. What’s more, heavy-handed punishments seem to be the only national policy on immigration. While faithful Americans have been drowned out in recent debates over immigration reform by a cacophony of critics and naysayers dominating the media discussion, their voices were never silenced.
Faithful and progressive Americans are engaged in an impressive variety of service, prayer, and advocacy. They are organizing potluck dinners, speaker series, town hall rallies, congressional letter-writing campaigns, lobby efforts, and more to change national immigration policy from the grassroots upward.
The Center for American Progress applauds their work and shares their ultimate objective–comprehensive immigration reform. We urge leaders to act in the interest of the nation by pursuing policies that resolve the status of undocumented immigrants, reduce family backlogs, enhance legal immigration channels and labor mobility while protecting American workers, fostering an inclusive American identity, and employing effective enforcement policies and safeguards.
All responsible leaders know that the status quo is unacceptable and that it is in our nation’s economic interest to ensure that our laws encourage immigrants to be in the system rather than operate outside the system. To that end our policies should require undocumented immigrants to come forward to register, pay taxes, learn English, and receive legal status.
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