WASHINGTON – In the wake of President Obama’s speech discussing immigration reform, the National League of Cities (NLC) reiterates its call for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. The plethora of immigration measures being proposed by state and local governments demonstrates a clear need for federal leadership on the issue.
NLC calls for the President and Congress to overcome their differences and find a way to move forward. Reform will provide an avenue for cities to move people out of the shadows and allow them to become fully contributing participants within their communities.
“Immigration has been a source for economic growth and innovation. From its founding, the nation has been strengthened socially, culturally and economically by recent immigrants,” said James E. Mitchell Jr., president of NLC and Councilmember, Charlotte, NC. He continued, “Our nation needs to remain open to new sources of ideas and inspiration if we are to compete in the global market.”
NLC supports legislation with the following key principals:
• Providing greater border security and enforcement;
• Recognizing the human and civil rights of both citizens and non-citizens;
• Strengthening penalties against employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers;
• Creating a program for the admission of temporary workers based upon the needs of the economy and over time qualifying for legal permanent residency;
• Providing adequate fiscal support for city and state governments that are disproportionately shouldering the costs of the current broken immigration system; and
• Establishing a process whereby the 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States may earn legalized status through payment of appropriate fees and back taxes, background checks, absence of criminal or gang activity, consistent work history, meeting English and civics requirements, and “waiting their place in line.”
NLC is at the forefront in working with cities on their immigrant integration challenges. Through the Municipal Action for Immigration Integration (MAII) program, NLC promotes civic engagement and naturalization among immigrant communities.
The National League of Cities is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.