Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obama, Congress Will Push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The Obama adminstration announced yesterday that they plan to push comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) this year, including a path to legal status for undocumented workers. This announcement--to the surprise of some--comes both despite of and because of the current state of the economy.

As FCNL has been saying for years, a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants will benefit ALL workers and finally create a functioning immigration system that will aid the U.S. eocnomy. Legalizing workers enables migrant workers to come forward about labor abuse, exploitation, and undercut wages which hurt the economy as a whole. It also means that migrants can contribute more wholly to our functioning society, by paying increased taxes and social security.

The administration has not released the precise timing, strategy, or principles of their immigration reform bill yet, but they have promised that Obama will speak publicly about the issue in May.

While the New York Times said this morning it was "unclear who would take up the Obama initiative in Congress," Senator Charles Schumer (NY), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security, followed Obama's lead by issuing this statement regarding Congress' willingness to work with President Obama on CIR within the coming year:

"We must solve the immigration issue and we can, even in these difficult economic times. I believe there is a real chance of passing comprehensive reform this year, and the Senate panel on immigration will begin a series of meetings and hearings later this month with an eye towards meeting this goal."

Representative Luis Gutierrez (IL), along with other members of the CHC, have also been on the road gaining political support for CIR on the House side.

FCNL is pleased to hear this announcement from the Whitehouse and Congress and we look forward to and stand ready to help the administration as they move this agenda forward.

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