President Obama stated his plans to fix the "broken immigration" process here in the United States, calling for "commonsense" immigration reform. While we applaud the bipartisan efforts by our U.S. Senators and the president, the concern is that special interests will prevail and Congress will veto the legislation.
In response I say this:
As former immigrants, in a nation built by immigrants, we are inspired to hear our President reveal his core principles for immigration reform that will pave the way to legal citizenship for 11 million people who currently live in the shadows of American life, but we welcome the announcement with circumspection and watchfulness.
After all, it has been more than 10 years waiting for this news to arrive. Now that it is finally here, it seems surreal because it has been a decade of immigrant bashing, political jargon, broken promises and shredded dreams.
As the process moves forward, we will look to President Obama for true leadership and to our Congress to repair a wrong that is way overdue. We need immigration reform that places working individuals, as well as families first; one that will preserve human dignity, protect civil rights and accomplish legal citizenship in a timely and just manner.
Time and time again, independent polls show that the public, by and large, supports comprehensive immigration reform that holds employers accountable, stops the exploitation of the vulnerable and pays a living wage. We want Congress to take note that their efforts will be monitored closely by GAMALIEL and others like us.
To this end, GAMALIEL will kick off its "Dream For All" campaign on February 6, 2013 in dozens of cities around the country. Together, GAMALIEL, community leaders, elected officials and clergy will gather to speak out in support of comprehensive reform now. We will remain vigilant and demand a comprehensive, legal and fair process conducted in a timely manner.