An Open Letter to the Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Support of Fair and Just Immigration Reform

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Over 700 groups and individuals call on senators to commit to human rights, fairness and justice as mark-up of S. 744 continues this week

As the Senate Judiciary Committee continues its deliberations on the immigration reform bill, over 700 organizations and individuals have joined with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights to urge the committee members to commit to human rights, fairness and justice in immigration policy.

The “Open Letter” states that “substantial improvements must yet be made” to SB 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act. Commenting on the “path to citizenship,” the letter urges senators to shorten the wait time for green cards for those who register for legalization, and to not make green card access dependent on “border security.”  “The wait should be reasonable and humane and should not exceed five years, the same as DREAM eligible applicants.” The letter further urges that those on the path to citizenship should have access to healthcare and economic supports.

According to the letter, the proposed bill jeopardizes family reunification as a core principle of immigration policy: “We are concerned with the detrimental impact of the “shift” to merit-based immigration that will favor highly-skilled and educated immigrants and which will diminish the value and principle of family unity.” Supporters of the letter also urge that family visa eligibility be expanded to same sex couples.

The Judiciary Committee has completed mark-up of the border security provisions, which are likely to be a continuing point of controversy on the Senate floor, and certainly in the House bipartisan proposal, which has yet to be introduced. Border community groups and advocates throughout the country have long voiced their opposition to the build-up of harsh enforcement programs at the border. “Immigrant families have endured years of increased border and interior enforcement policies on the premise that these would lead to support for legalization; that price has been more than paid.” The letter continues, “Our border policy has tragically contributed to the deaths of thousands of migrant men, women and children while having no impact on the complex ‘root’ factors that drive migration across the border.”

Concerns about immigration detention, workers’ rights and temporary worker programs, lack of due process, deportation programs and other critical issues are also addressed in the letter.

The Open Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee may be viewed and downloaded here.

NNIRR, founded in 1986,  is a national alliance of diverse immigrant community, labor, faith, human rights and other sectors working for the human rights of all immigrants, regardless of immigration status or citizenship.

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For more information, please contact Catherine Tactaquin, ctactaquin@nnirr.org, 510.465.1984 Ext. 302

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