Whereas smart, effective, just, practical and wise immigration reform is in the national interest of the United States;
Whereas the House and Senate of the United States have passed immigration bills that as currently written cannot be implemented effectively, justly, smartly or wisely, and if enacted would result in irreparable harm to individuals, families, communities, the economy, society and international relations;
Whereas the current immigration laws and systems have proven to be harmful to the social and economic interest of the United States of America and to immigrant families; have failed to recognize that migration flows and trends are significantly related to prevailing social and economic conditions in sending countries, including the adverse impacts of U.S. foreign policy in sending countries, including but not limited to U.S. exploitive and/or punitive economic policies, military interventions and covert actions which contribute to population migration; and have led to the deaths of thousands immigrants at the U.S. southern border and have led to a significant violations of rights and freedoms to all Americans without any tangible improvement in the national security of the U.S.;
Whereas the current immigration laws and systems have failed to articulate a national immigrant integration policy able to assist local communities, counties and states where immigrants are settling, making difficult healthy management of the opportunities and challenges that new immigrant communities generates and have resulted in a substantial loss of life, erosion in the quality of life and public safety experienced by communities along the U.S. Southern Border;
Whereas current immigration laws are not effectively implemented or enforced and fail to provide adequate legal avenues to unify families, provide refuge to persons with well-founded fear of persecution, or meet the labor needs of many sectors of the American economy;
Whereas the vast majority of undocumented immigrants now in the United States work, are law abiding, and otherwise contribute to their communities, families and the economy in ways essential to the national interest;
Whereas the exploitation of workers based upon their immigration status violates their rights and adversely impacts US workers; most undocumented immigrants have close family members who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents and are unable to legalize their status under current laws, including severe backlogs of lawful family and employment visa applications;
Whereas immigrants annually contribute $ 800 billion to the economy paying far more in taxes, more so to the federal government than states and localities, than they utilize in government-funded programs;
Whereas millions of undocumented immigrants have young US citizen children who suffer a range of harms, disadvantages, and lost opportunities as a result of the inability of their parents to legalize their immigration status; and
Whereas a network of anti-immigrant militia, vigilante, neo-fascist, population control and racist groups expend tens of millions of dollars annually to incite fear of and violence against immigrant and other vulnerable populations;
Whereas a significant number of Republicans and certain Democratic elected officials and campaigns, and certain media including but not limited to Lou Dobbs/CNN and ABC/Disney, engage in untruthful propaganda and vilification to incite fears, hostility and violence directed at immigrants;
Whereas 21st century America faces an aging population, globalization, interdependence, and dangers of ethnic and religious conflicts, wars and terror ;
Whereas post 9/11 national security measures taken by the U.S. government to better screen and track lawful permanent residents and non-immigrant visitors in the United State are of questionable value as long as the government possesses no information on millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country;
Whereas certain local governments are attempting to pass anti immigrant ordinances that conflict with the Constitution and federal laws that place immigration law responsibilities in the hands of the federal government subjecting US citizens and lawfully residing immigrants to harsh scrutiny and creating community ill will, and division;
Whereas the contributions and just treatment of immigrants are ever more essential to the national interest and, as President Truman recognized America's "moral leadership in the world community;"
Whereas as originally introduced the Hagel, and the McCain-Kennedy-Flake-Gutierrez immigration reform bills together with AgJOBS, the DREAM Act, and adjustment of status for persons with Temporary Protective Status (TPS) and certain farmworkers, students and temporary skilled workers would, if enacted, result in effective, just, wise and practical immigration reform.
Therefore, be it resolved:
1. That we call upon Congress to enact immigration reform consistent with the principles and provisions of the McCain-Kennedy-Flake-Gutierrez bill as introduced, together with AgJOBS, the DREAM Act, and adjustment of status for persons with Temporary Protective Status (TPS) ,farmworkers and certain H-1B skilled workers who have worked in the US for four years;
2. That we call upon Congress to consider as an interim initiative more narrowly crafted proposals including AgJOBS, the DREAM Act, and reduction of backlogs for family and employment based green cards and enforce the provisions of McCain-Kennedy that target smuggling, employer exploitation, and significant felony conduct under current law;
3. That we call on the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration to focus their energy and talent on the articulation and prompt passage of immigration policy reforms that smartly, with full respect for civil rights and liberties protect the security interest of the US, upholds the rule of law, and sets as a keystone the enormous social, economic, cultural and political contributions that immigrant communities make to their local neighborhoods and the nation as a whole.
4. That we call upon Congress to create a national immigrant integration program, in cooperation with state and local governments and private institutions, designed to lead and assist local communities in the healthy management of demographic changes brought about by immigration. One task of such a program should be to support immigrant communities in their learning process about the new country, including effective strategies to learn the English language.
5. That in order to best protect the national security of the United States and the rights and interests of U.S. workers, we call upon Congress to recognize that a legalization program for undocumented immigrants should include unambiguous eligibility standards satisfied by realistic evidentiary burdens, afford applicants full access to judicial review in the event application for legalization are unlawfully denied, should include the spouses and children of program beneficiaries,
6. That we support a substantial increase in funding for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and U.S. consulates to effect a massive reduction in all back logged immigration-related applications and modification of existing quotas with the goal that no application or petition for immigration benefits filed by eligible applicant would take more than 6 months to adjudicate.
7. That in order to fully protect U.S. workers and reduce the unlawful exploitation of immigrant workers, we support revisions to the U.S. laws so that documented and undocumented immigrants have full and complete access to protective labor and health and safety laws and that penalties be increased for employers who illegally exploit workers based upon their immigration status.
8. That we oppose efforts to limit the ability of the judiciary to review and correct unlawful decisions regarding immigrants; we oppose the further militarization and criminalization of the U.S/Mexico border, and we support enhanced national security measures at seaports and U.S. Consulates that process applications for visas to enter the United States.
9. That we oppose legislation that fails to offer a comprehensive legalization program that would legalize the status of the majority of undocumented immigrant presently living in the United States, while adopting interior enforcement programs that will drive immigrants deeper underground, increase fear and exploitability, increase rather than decrease the size of the undocumented population, and result in widespread violations of human rights, all adverse to the national security of the United Stats and the rights and well-being of U.S. workers and their families.
10. That we unequivocally oppose local and state immigration restriction ordinance attempts, especially those deputizing local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration law. We all should make it a priority to work in partnership with a broad coalition at all levels from all communities against such attempts, and maintain and build coalitions not just to defeat such ordinance attempts but to advocate for local legislation that addresses the needs of the communities, to encourage naturalization, to register new voters, and to educate communities about elected officials and candidates stands on this and other issues.
11. That Congress should investigate and prohibit any and all activities of private groups and individuals to intimidate, threaten, coerce and otherwise attempt to enforce immigration laws, and should investigate well-documented cooperation among vigilante, militia, neo-fascist and population control groups to vilify and/or incite violence against immigrants regardless of status;
12. That Congress should reject any and all proposals that would significantly delay or prevent immigrants eligible for legal status under current or future laws from acquiring green cards and naturalization and should otherwise reject proposals like Pence-Hutchison that would establish apartheid and/or indentured servitude like programs that relegate certain immigrants to permanent second class status;
13. That Congress should reject any and all proposals including HR. 4437 and S.2611 in their current form unless and until amended consistent with the principles and purposes in this resolution. We particularly object to measures that criminalize immigrants and militarize border communities, undermining civil and human rights. We support policies that seek to manage international migration into the U.S. in a way that is legal, secure and respects human rights;
14. That Latino and other eligible voters should reject candidates of either party who propose policies or adopt campaign tactics that vilify immigrants, divide communities, break up families and/or incite fears of or violence against immigrants or other targets of nativist scapegoating and fear mongering.
15. That America declares a moratorium on deportations until Omnibus Immigration Reform is passed in the American Congress;
16. That we unequivocally oppose legislation that would create or implement any form of national identification card or any further tightening or restrictions on the issuance of government identification already in existence;
17. That we unequivocally oppose the creation of any form of centralized state or federal employment eligibility database(s) or clearinghouse system.