05 January 2007
US: Immigration reform pledges applauded
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has welcomed the Senate's pledge to make comprehensive immigration reform a reality this year.
Immigration reform appears to have bipartisan support in the Senate with majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announcing that comprehensive reform is on the Democrats' top-ten list of legislative priorities for the 110th Congress, and minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), declaring that immigration is a pressing issue that they have a public duty to address.
"We commend the many senators and representatives who have highlighted the urgency of resolving the crisis afflicting our immigration system," said AILA President Carlina Tapia-Ruano.
"With today's formal, bipartisan commitment of Senate leaders to reform our immigration laws, we have an opportunity to once again make legality, fairness, and workability the norm, rather than the exception, in our immigration system. We urge the new Congress to act swiftly and seize this historic opportunity."
In a press release AILA, established to promote justice and advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, went on to outline what it hopes will be achieved in the proposed immigration reforms this year.
AILA called on Congress to enact a program that:
- creates realistic legal avenues for people to enter the U.S. to fill jobs throughout the economy;
- establishes a workable process for undocumented workers already in the United States to pay a penalty and then earn the privilege of legal status;
- eliminates the visa backlogs that senselessly keep U.S. families separated for years and sometimes decades on end;
- restores procedures that ensure fair treatment of noncitizens in this country; and
- implements a smart, effective border security and enforcement regime.
"Everyone agrees that America's immigration system is fundamentally broken and out of sync with the needs and demands of 21st century America," Tapia-Ruano continued.
"Now we hope that Congress can overcome a history of political gridlock on this issue and can restore legitimacy and integrity to the process of welcoming newcomers to this country."