Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is holding a hearing today on employment verification issues – the latest in a series of hearings examining different facets of the broken immigration system. Senator Schumer, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security, recently wrote of his intentions to “introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislation by Labor Day that secures our border, stops the flow of illegal aliens to the United States and requires all illegal aliens present in the United States to quickly register their presence with the U. S. government and start paying taxes or face imminent deportation.” The Senator’s commitment to move forward with reform complements the leadership demonstrated by President Obama, members of his cabinet, and Congressional leaders, all of whom have announced their intention to start congressional action later this year.
“Under Senator Schumer’s leadership, the Senate Immigration Subcommittee is methodically hearing testimony on many of the key components needed to make comprehensive immigration reform work. Employment verification is one of those, but only if expanded into a mandatory program as a component of a comprehensive fix. In the absence of wider reforms, expanding the flawed E-Verify program will only make a bad situation worse,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice. “As the legislative process unfolds, the goal should be to transform the chaos and non-solutions of the immigration status quo into a safe, secure and legal system that effectively eliminates illegal immigration. Increasingly, leaders in Washington are beginning to understand both the paradigm shift needed to set our immigration system on a sustainable and legal course as well as the power and momentum driving immigration reform to center stage.”
President Obama, in remarks last Friday before Spanish language media outlets, reasserted his commitment to immigration reform, saying it is “something we want to move forward on,” and noting that “we’re going to have to keep the pressure for this to happen.” Last week’s remarks follow the President’s comments made at the Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast asserting his commitment to passing reform and an earlier White House meeting on immigration with Congressional leaders from both parties in which he tasked Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano with the formation of a Congressional Working Group to move the legislative process along.
Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano told a gathering of federal judges at a conference in Monterey, California that immigration reform was at the top of her list of important issues to address “because for the last 16 years, I’ve seen how flaws in our underlying legislation … need to be corrected.” Last week, in an exclusive interview with La Opinion, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reiterated his commitment to comprehensive reform with a path to citizenship. In the past, he has pledged that he has the votes to pass reform legislation in the Senate. Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told the Asian American and Pacific Islander Summit that immigration reform was one of her top three legislative priorities.
“The doubts of the political class cannot stop what is becoming clearer every week: both politically and policy-wise, the momentum behind immigration reform is growing stronger,” said Sharry. “We look forward to working with the White House, both chambers, and both parties to transform that momentum into workable legislation that combines smart border and workplace enforcement measures with a plan to require the millions of undocumented immigrants in our country to register, go through background checks, pay taxes, study English, and work their way toward U.S. citizenship.”