A Quaker Lobby in the Public Interest
Talking Points on Immigration ReformOur country was built by immigrants and welcoming immigrants is the right thing to do. The United States is proud of its immigrant heritage. Just as our grandparents came here seeking opportunity, we shouldn't deny immigrants who came to improve their lives and take care of their families. Expensive and ineffective enforcement policies don't make sense. We need common-sense solutions that integrate immigrants as full contributors to our communities and our economy.
The immigration system is broken and no one is happy with it; we need real solutions. Immigrants are living in the shadows, law-abiding employers are out-competed by those who are willing to pay below minimum wage, workers aren't getting fair treatment, and the federal government keeps throwing billions of dollars at ineffective enforcement policies. We need a system that works for everyone. By legalizing the 12 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States, we can regulate employment and allow federal, state, and local governments to focus scarce resources on other pressing issues.
Creating an orderly legal avenue for immigration will make the system easier to regulate. Recognizing that the U.S. economy relies on imported labor, we should establish a mechanism that determines the number of foreign workers needed each year. Then, we can take a look at the real needs of the economy and issue employment visas accordingly. Also, by auditing employers, we can make sure that they're playing by the rules.
Enforcing employment laws will improve working conditions for everyone. All workers should be treated fairly and equally. If we enforce existing employment and labor laws, then we can crack down on unscrupulous employers who exploit their workers. If immigrants are on the books, then they can report bad employers and improve working conditions for all.
Federal immigration law should be enforced by federal authorities. State and local law enforcement agencies across the country are adopting immigration enforcement programs, which distract police officers from their real task of ensuring U.S. communities' safety and security. Only federal immigration officials have the proper training and oversight to enforce immigration laws. The United States prides itself as a country that adheres to the rule of law, so we should make sure that we enforce immigration laws in the right way.
Keeping children apart from their parents is morally wrong. There are 4 million U.S.-citizen children living in mixed-status families with at least one parent who is an undocumented immigrant. These families shouldn't be torn apart by immigration enforcement, or forced into exile in order to be together. By reforming the family visa system, we can keep families together.