Obama Recommits to Immigration Reform
Washington, DC - On Monday, President Obama stated at a North American summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada, that he expects legislators to have a draft immigration bill in Congress by year's end and laid out a timeline for what should be expected from the Administration and Congress. Also this week, Congress confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum, a non-partisan, non-profit pro-immigrant advocacy organization in Washington.
The President pledged to move forward on immigration reform during his campaign and has reiterated his promise time and again. The President and key leaders in Congress recognize there are current political challenges, but they are clear that immigration reform is on the immediate agenda. We plan to hold the President and Congress accountable.
Every day that Congress puts off tackling the crisis of the broken immigration system will make the problems that we face today even worse. America has suffered for too long the devastating consequences of a system that separates families, increases racial profiling, and tolerates human rights violations in detention centers.
The urgency is building for Washington to act now to solve our immigration problems. Failure to act will eventually bring political troubles for both Parties. If the enforcement record of DHS and Secretary Napolitano is the only work product of the Administration, Latino and immigrant voters who were motivated by the promise of solutions will be disillusioned. So will other American voters who were promised solutions.
We welcome the confirmation of Director Mayorkas and look forward to him making much-needed improvements to the important work that USCIS performs. At USCIS, there are many areas where improvements have been made in the past several months, such as reducing immigration backlogs, and having a leader such as Mayorkas will allow those improvements to continue. He will be a valuable addition to the Administration's team to press for comprehensive immigration reform.
Washington needs to stop stalling and move forward on immigration reform. Immigration reform is an opportunity to show voters that the Administration and Congress can face difficult problems and solve them in a way that works for the nation. We will hold Congress and the Administration accountable to meeting this challenge.