The United States may have finally reached a turning point in its approach to immigration policy. Presently Senators, known as the Gang of Eight from both political parties, appear to have negotiated a bill to allow, amongst other important items, undocumented immigrants living in the United States an opportunity to obtain permission to work in this country and hopefully to someday gain United States Citizenship. The bill is currently in the Judiciary Committee and I am extremely hopeful that the bill will be brought before the entire Senate for a vote by June. The House of Representatives is likewise currently working on a bill, behind closed doors, so no further information is available as to its contents but it appears that it will be similar to the Senate bill.
As an attorney specializing in immigration law and a longtime advocate of granting undocumented immigrants legal status, I was excited to attend a full day of lobbying in the Congress in Washington, DC, on behalf of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. My colleagues and clients and I sought to strengthen already existing support and to persuade those who were willing to listen to our clients’ concerns.
As the bill is worked on in the committees, our focus continues to seek the following:
A Roadmap must be created to allow all undocumented immigrants already in the United States to become citizens. This is one of the most fundamental issues facing our country and the most important part the immigration debate. While it is fair for the government to impose reasonable fines on those who have entered the country through unlawful means, these aspiring citizens deserve the right, as all previous generations of immigrants to this country have enjoyed, to one day become full citizens and participate completely in the American Dream.
Deportations need to stop right now. Every single day, an average of least a thousand immigrants are deported from the United States. These deportations break up and destroy families, causing unnecessary hardship and pain to those forced out of the country and their relatives left here without them.
Those facing deportation for alleged criminality deserve due process. In the terms of the immigration plans being currently considered by Congress, those immigrants found to have criminal histories or determined to pose a threat to national security will be excluded from the opportunities of gaining citizenship. While public safety is always of primary concern, it is important to see that those accused receive a truly fair and impartial hearing before being deported or denied opportunities.
Marriage Equality in Immigration. Lesbian and Gay couples who have married in good faith deserve to be afforded the same opportunities as other bona fide marriages, and to petition their spouse for Legal Permanent Residence.
I will update soon to report how this bill is progressing!