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Today, leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, joined by Senator Robert Menendez, held a press conference to announce their own nine principles of immigration reform.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), the Chair of the CHC’s Immigration Task Force, asked for “one simple thing” in immigration reform—fairness—during their event, entitled “One Nation: Principles on Immigration Reform and Our Commitment to the American Dream.”
As Rep. Gutierrez said today during the press conference, “What we’re unveiling today represents a consensus of the Caucus – a declaration of what is right for immigrants… These principles don’t just help immigrants – they help all of us.”
He continued, “Let’s have an immigration system that reflects our values and interests as a nation and that recognizes we are both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. But let’s create laws that work for us, get people in the system, don’t let employers cheat to undercut their competition or America’s native workers and which gives immigrants a simple deal: if you work hard and play by the rules, you can stay and join us.”
The Hispanic Caucus’ nine principles of immigration reform can be found here. They include calls for the protection of families, including bi-national same sex couples; incentives to bring the best and brightest immigrant entrepreneurs to the US; new legislation that builds upon President Obama’s current deferred action for DREAMers program (DACA); a solution for the agricultural industry that works for laborers as well as employers; a reasonable foreign worker program; smart border enforcement; a workable employment verification system; and a renewed commitment to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring citizens already in the US.
When asked why the Hispanic Caucus was releasing a set of principles to guide the creation of immigration reform legislation—rather than an actual bill, Senator Menendez explained that the guidelines were a show of good faith that the Democrats wanted to work with Republicans to write a bill. “We want to work with our Republican colleagues to figure out legislation,” he said.