Yesterday, the White House hosted a meeting of bipartisan lawmakers from both chambers of Congress to begin the conversation of how to move immigration reform forward this year. Today, several advocates reacted to the results of that meeting during a telephonic press conference.
“There can be no doubt that the conditions for significant movement on immigration reform this year have become more favorable,” stated Simon Rosenberg, President and Founder of NDN. “An overwhelming majority of Americans want action taken to fix the broken immigration system now and support the Comprehensive Immigration Reform legislative approach. While the road to passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform will not be an easy one, with strong leadership, progress this year is within Washington’s grasp.”
Polling conducted on behalf of America’s Voice by Benenson Strategy Group earlier this month has found that 84 percent of independent voters support immigration reform that would “Secure the border, crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and require illegal immigrants to register for legal immigration status, pay back taxes, and learn English in order to be eligible for U.S. citizenship.”
“These results reflect what we have known for years – the American people support immigration reform, and want Congress to provide smart solutions to tough problems,” said Frank Sharry of America’s Voice. “While many in the political class continue to look in the rearview mirror and fail to grasp the policy and political realities that are bringing immigration reform to the fore, the President and Congressional leaders understand the power behind reform. Yesterday, they took a giant step towards addressing and solving a problem calling out for courageous and deliberative action.”
Josh Hoyt, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR), added: “This debate is about our democracy living up to its best values of inclusion. As the movement towards immigration reform gains momentum, we are more unified than ever in our efforts to get this urgent issue resolved. Our families and our communities can’t wait any longer.”
Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) continued: “We believe that action on this issue will allow our elected leaders to send a message than when millions of people get involved in the political process, it means something. It is clear that action on comprehensive immigration reform is morally imperative, urgently needed, and politically smart. We have the Latino community, the fastest growing segment of the electorate, deeply engaged, and America as a whole hungry for solutions. Inaction is not an option.”
Recent polling has clearly shown that Latino voters believe that immigration is a very important issue (82 percent), and 72 percent expect President Obama to keep his promise to move an immigration bill in Congress during his first year in office.
“An American solution to our immigration system includes: effective, humane border and interior enforcement that respects rights and keeps communities safe; the registration for legal status of those here illegally so they learn English and get on a path to citizenship; reunification of families and preservation of our family immigration system; a coherent, humane, and fair legal system that respects the value of due process; and a logical viable system for regulating legal immigration and ending illegal immigration,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “The naysayers who oppose reform or are caught in the old thinking about immigration reform – that it is a contentious issue rather than a consensus issue – will be proven wrong as our coalition of faith, labor, business, and community leaders focus and sharpen the political will of the American people for Congress to act.”