Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Take action: something might actually happen to fix our broken immigration policies.

After years of failed attempts to develop new immigration legislation there is a post-election buzz: something might actually happen to fix our broken immigration policies. 

Our voices are critical in shaping this moment, in broadening the space for a real conversation. Your experiences and beliefs about our communities need to be heard at the national level. The opportunity of this moment is historical, together we can put forward our vision. Share with our legislators and friends the idea that we are all one people, that we are better together, and insist immigrant are not the problem, our policies are.

Please email your congressional delegation today
Call on them to work for just and humane reform, and let them know you will no longer stand for policies and practices that tear apart families and communities. 

In the hope that we can truly bring fundamental and lasting change, the American Friends Service Committee’s immigrant constituents puts forth seven principles that would recognize the dignity of all migrants and protect human rightsAn immigration policy that mirrors these principles would protect rights of all migrants and would be a model for immigration policies worldwide.

  • Create justice with humane economic policies.  International economic policies, including trade agreements, need to be consistent with human rights, trade justice, and sustainable approaches to the environment and economic development.
  •  Protect the labor rights of all workers.  All workers are entitled to humane policies that protect their labor and employment rights.
  • Develop a clear path to permanent residence.  Inclusive measures must be enacted that lead to permanent residence for undocumented immigrants, multi-status families, refugees, and asylees.
  • Respect the civil and human rights of immigrants.  Immigrants, regardless of status, deserve the same civil and human rights as all U.S. residents.
  • Demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border.  The U.S.-Mexico border region must be demilitarized and the quality of life of border communities needs to be protected. 
  •  Make family reunification a top priority.  Recognize the distinctly important and valuable role of family ties by supporting the reunification of immigrant families in a way that equally respects both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.
  •  Ensure that immigrants and refugees have access to services.  Public programs and services should not exclude immigrants or refugees.  

The dangerous alternative: In the Senate, Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham are already bringing forward a misguided proposal. How does it measure up to our principles for a humane immigration policy? 
  • Their call to close the border would perpetuate violence for border communities. It comes at a time when record numbers of migrants have died while crossing into arduous terrain. In addition, U.S. Border Patrol has killed at least 18 unarmed border residents in the last two years. 
  • Their call for non-forgeable employment documents would create a new system that would be fraught with errors and erode everyones privacy. Calls for a new system ignore the lessons being learned by E-Verify and other electronic employment enforcement programs. Further, increased employer sanctions do more harm to workers than to unscrupulous employers. 
  • Their call for more temporary guest worker visas for workers in technology, engineering, sciences, and agricultural would be ineffective. Guest worker programs lower community labor standards, and the few protections offered to workers are rarely enforced by agencies in charge of oversight. 
  • Their call for a Go to the Back of the Line pathway to citizenship is more of an obstacle course than a fair procedure. Requirements include paying back taxes, having gainful employment, learning English, paying an undetermined fine, and having no criminal history. These requirements punish a marginalized and vulnerable community.
Email your congressional delegation today — tell them to stand for humane reform to fix our broken immigration system!