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Today, the New York Times reports that the Obama Administration is ready to tackle comprehensive immigration reform during its first year. Below is a statement by Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“President Obama’s commitment to addressing immigration reform during the first year of his Presidency demonstrates that this White House is tapped into American public sentiment more than the punditry. The White House gets that the failure to solve the problem of illegal immigration has become a symbol of how Washington ducks rather than solves tough problems.
“This is not the first time the conventional wisdom regarding the prospects of immigration reform has been turned on its head. Before the 2008 elections, the inside-the-Beltway belief was that Latinos would not play a critical role during the election and that immigration was not a mobilizing issue. This myth was shattered when Latinos and other immigrants turned out in record numbers, voted to punish Republicans for their hostility and opposition to immigration reform, and turned at least four states from red to blue.
“Since the election, we have been stating our belief that President Obama would keep his campaign promise to tackle immigration reform during his first year. But critics and skeptics have argued that addressing immigration reform later this year would be impossible because of the down economy. Again, this conventional wisdom misses the mark. The public voted for change. Two-thirds of voters approve of the aggressive approach being taken by the Obama White House to the myriad of reform challenges facing the country. They want their elected leaders to step up and do their jobs.
“Moreover, the version of immigration reform that is likely to be debated this year will focus primarily on cracking down on bad actor employers who violate immigration, labor, and tax laws, combined with the legalization of workers and families already contributing and living here in the United States. This approach will lift wages for American and immigrant workers alike, enhance tax fairness and boost revenues, and create a level playing field for honest employers. The majority of Americans believe that earned citizenship combined with smart policies that will significantly reduce illegal immigration is the American way to solve this complex challenge.
“The American people understand that our immigration system is broken, and overwhelmingly support practical efforts to fix it. President Obama is rising to the occasion. It is up to Congress to follow his lead and make it happen. We stand ready to work with all of our elected leaders to enact this long overdue reform this year.”
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America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform.