CARECEN Press Release: Immigration Reform

I like Carecen’s proposals below regarding Immigration reform (Angela helped in formulating this position).  I like that it begins from the premise of “what we are for,” and in the process of presenting what we are for — essentially drawing out the contradictions in the proposals that are being thrown around in Washington.  I think that it would be good for the Roundtable to look at this document and develop some dialogue.  In the future, I would like us to develop a process where we could also formulate collective news releases on a timely basis as the issues come up.

CARECEN is Encouraged by Recent Immigration Reform Proposals Recognizes
Much is Still to be Determined and Urges the Community and Immigrant
Rights Leaders to Continue Pushing for Fair and Humane Reform

CARECEN is encouraged by the recent immigration reform guidelines
presented by key U.S. Senators and President Obama. These proposals signal
the possibility of bi-partisan support for much needed changes to our
broken system and include a road to citizenship for 11 million
undocumented people.  However, we realize that there is still a great deal
to be determined and that we need to continue to remind our elected
officials about the difficult realities that immigrant families continue
to face.

CARECEN urges the following:

1.       An Immediate Moratorium on Deportations: As the Administration
calls on Congress to pass legislation that will provide a path to legal
status for undocumented people, it should not continue deporting the
potential beneficiaries of this reform. Given the erratic and weak
implementation of prior prosecutorial discretion guidelines, the
Administration should issue a clear policy directive that strips ICE and
CBP of discretionary authority to continue separating families. During the
last four years, 1.5 million immigrants have been deported and families
have been separated.  Families should no longer have to fear being
separated as they await the passage of immigration reform.

2.       Immigration Reform Must Include a Road to Citizenship: We applaud
both the Senate’s and the President’s proposal for acknowledging the need
for a road to citizenship. However, we believe that qualifications for the
program should be reasonable and should not be hindered by punitive
criteria, exorbitant fees or by forcing people to wait an inordinate
amount of time to apply for Legal Permanent Resident status.

3.       Reasonable Period Length for Legalization: While we applaud the
President’s commitment to eliminating long wait times for current visa
applicants, CARECEN rejects the notion of sending undocumented workers “to
the back of the line.” There is no single line in our current system; many
people have no line available to them, while other lines impose waiting
times of two decades or longer. The current system does not meet the needs
of US citizens, intending immigrants, or employers. Undocumented workers
should not be punished for the failures of our broken system.

4.       Expedited Legalization for Immigrants in Temporary Work Programs:
We applaud President Obama and the Senate group for embracing expedited
legalization for DREAMers and essential workers in agriculture. However,
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries, many of whom have
maintained legal status for 12-14 years, have also earned the right to
this fast-track legalization. There are approximately 270,000 Salvadoran,
Honduran and Nicaraguan legal immigrants who have worked in US legally,
many have citizen children, follow the rules, pay taxes and renew their
work permits every 18 months.

5.       No Border Security “Trigger” For Legalization: CARECEN strongly
opposes the concept of legalization conditioned on border security
certification, which the group of 8 Senators proposed on Monday, January
28, 2013.  We applaud President Obama for embracing legalization for hard
working immigrant families without linking that goal to border security.

6.       A Punitive Approach to Reform Does Not Work: CARECEN rejects the
concept of punishing undocumented workers with a fine. This punitive
approach sends precisely the wrong message at a critical time in America.
A fine/penalty is wholly inconsistent with a legalization program intended
to bring the undocumented population out of the shadows and into the fold
of American society.  Significant fines will also prevent large numbers of
prospective beneficiaries from availing themselves of legalization.

7.       Equal Opportunity for Same-Sex Families: We applaud the
President’s commitment to treat same-sex families just like other
families. We call on the group of Senators and other members of Congress
to follow the President’s lead and bring equality to our immigration

8.       Penalties for Unlicensed Immigration Consultants: We applaud the
Administration’s commitment to impose tough criminal penalties on
unlicensed immigration consultants and “notarios” that prey on immigrants.
These crimes have gone unchecked for far too long and working families
have paid the price.

9.       Repeal Secure Communities: Security Communities & 287(g)
agreements must come to an end. Recent experience has demonstrated that
these initiatives make communities less secure by eroding the trust of
immigrant communities and hindering community-policing efforts to prevent
crime. As Congress considers significant changes to our immigration laws,
it should take into account this recent experience and end these harmful

10.    Worker’s Rights Protections:  Both the Senate’s and the President’s
proposals focus significantly on implementing and expanding E-Verify.
However, the information used in these types of programs is often
inaccurate and can be used as an instrument that promotes discrimination
against immigrants in the hiring process.  We are concerned about any
administrative or legislative action that disproportionally increases
employer supremacy over employees, which can lead to union busting and
violations of worker’s rights.

About Central American Resource Center – CARECEN The Central American
Resource Center – CARECEN was founded in 1983 by Salvadoran refugees and
human rights activists whose mission was to secure legal status for the
thousands of Central American fleeing the brutality of civil war. CARECEN
provides services to over 10,000 clients annually through three core
areas: (1) Immigration Legal Services; (2) Education and Civic
Participation; and (3) Economic Development.  Inspired by the historic
struggles to achieve freedom, peace and equality CARECEN’s mission is to
promote the human and civil rights of Central Americans and other
immigrant communities through legal and educational services, and by
advocating and organizing to transform immigration and education policies.
For more information, please visit our website at:<>.

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