The Immigration community was deeply saddened by the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy yesterday, who, throughout his life, advocated for more inclusive policies toward refugees and immigrants. In fact, his first major legislative initiative was actually the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
Since then, Senator Kennedy had championed immigration reform, and fought hard on behalf of those who couldn’t always fight for themselves. He struggled to help fix an immigration system that has long been broken.
In today’s Roll Call, Morton Kondracke suggests that the proper tribute to Sen. Kennedy’s life would be to pass real immigration reform:
Along with a health care reform bill, it would be a fitting tribute to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) if Congress could act on his other great-unfinished cause: immigration reform.
Kondracke further states that Kennedy understood the importance of working “on a bipartisan basis to get legislation passed,” and collaborated with members of the Republican Party on various legislation, and most notably, with McCain on legislation that would allow immigrants with a clean record to earn legal resident status. Kondracke notes that:
The bill also would have ended the unconscionable delays that keep family members of recent immigrants waiting years — sometimes decades — to be admitted…And though his motives for reform might have been primarily humanitarian…he understood the need to get America’s borders under control.