At the foot of our Statute of Liberty is a bronze tablet with a poem by Emma Lazarus which in part says:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
These words have greeted immigrants coming into New York harbor with the hope of attaining the American Dream harbor for decades. It represents the spirit and unselfish desire of shared liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is what makes our country great!
On April 16, 2013, the Senate passed S. 744 – a bi-partisan Immigration Reform Bill. Almost immediately, the leadership in House of Representatives, supported by 23 year incumbent Congressman Ken Calvert, decided that they would not take any action on the bill. Since then, the House has sat back and done nothing. The Republican leadership has even refused to allow the bill to come to the House floor for a simple up-or-down vote.
This type of inaction is wrong. More importantly, it hurts our economy. The people of California’s 42nd District, and the country as a whole, deserve better.
The future success of our American economy is increasingly dependent on the adoption of a sensible, measured immigration reform. A majority of Americans agree that our immigration policy is broken and that we must fix it. I agree. Here’s why:
) The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce agree that the current projected numbers of workers both high-skilled and low-skilled within the U.S. population is not enough to fill all the current and future needs of American businesses and institutions reliant on a workforce, including the agricultural industry, the high-tech industry and everything in-between;
) According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, immigration reform could reduce deficits by $175 billion over the first 10 years and by $700 billion in the second decade as a result of an increased legal workforce that will be paying taxes and spending money which feeds the engine of our consumer based economy; and
) Our current immigration policy is hard on families given the back-log of visa requests and the INS’s policy of separating families in the deportation process.
According to the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, John Conyers, the five basic building blocks of comprehensive immigration reform are:
) Improved efforts to secure our borders;
) The establishment of a carefully-handled, nationally mandated e-verify system of employment eligibility;
) An earned-path to permanent residency and citizenship for the 11 million or so undocumented illegal immigrants currently living in the shadows of our country;
) Creation of an employment-based immigration system by expanding high-skilled visas and a low-skilled temporary-worker program to meet our country’s labor force deficiencies;
) Reform of the family-based immigration system to more quickly re-unify families separated by immigration processing delays and out-dated policies.
When I’m elected to Congress, I will support these key principles not only because it is good for our American economy but it is a necessity if we are to meet the increasing demands of our country’s economic engine.