After the unveiling of the much anticipated Senate gang of eight immigration bill, Latino issue organizations praised the introduction of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 on Wednesday. Janet Murguia of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Margaret Moran of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) both expressed that the legislation was not perfect but that it was an important first step. The NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) Educational Fund expressed praise for the introduction of the bill, but was concerned about the length of time it would take immigrants to pursue citizenship. Despite the larger organization applause for the introduction of the bill, Presente.org criticized the bill’s citizenship provisions as being unfair and condemned the focus on additional border security.
Below is a compilation of statements, beginning with NCLR:
“WASHINGTON, D.C.—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) applauded both the critically important breakthrough in the push for immigration reform and the members of the bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Eight”—Michael Bennet (D–Colo.), Richard Durbin (D–Ill.), Jeff Flake (R–Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.), John McCain (R–Ariz.), Robert Menendez (D–N.J.), Marco Rubio (R–Fla.), and Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.)—who together introduced legislation today to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.
“This distinguished group of senators has shown extraordinary perseverance, thoughtfulness and courage in their months-long effort to bring about a solution to a national concern too long neglected. Their unity and ability to work together to find common ground in the face of an increasingly polarized political atmosphere should be a model for addressing our country’s challenges,” stated Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR.
“This legislation, while not perfect, is a monumental step forward in ensuring that this nation has a fair, humane and effective 21st-century immigration policy that serves our nation’s best interests and works for all Americans, including families, workers and businesses. It is especially important that this legislation includes a real roadmap for undocumented immigrants to earn legal status and eventual citizenship, one that is true to our nation’s history, our laws and our values,” continued Murguía.
“We urge policymakers to follow the example of these senators and work as quickly as possible to pass a bill. We would note that immigration is a galvanizing issue for the nation’s Hispanics, whose vote last November generated a game-changing moment for this debate, giving us an opportunity to arrive at a solution. Our community is engaged and watching this debate closely. As the legislation progresses, we will work to ensure that legalization is real, enforcement is accountable and families and workers are protected. We have cleared a substantial hurdle today, but we cannot rest until we see legislation signed into law,” concluded Murguía.
NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.”
“Today, a bipartisan group of senators who have been working for months on immigration reform legislation filed the first bill in decades that attempts to fix our nation’s broken immigration system with realistic and pragmatic measures. LULAC applauds the U.S. Senate’s “Gang of Eight” for introducing immigration legislation that offers a roadmap to citizenship for millions of hard-working immigrants who seek an opportunity at the American dream.
While the bill is not perfect LULAC is pleased with most of the provisions. It is obvious that both parties gave ground which is evidence of true compromise. LULAC is heartened that the DREAM students and agricultural workers will have a shorter path to citizenship in the proposed plan. LULAC has consistently advocated for a family reunification component as part of immigration reform and is concerned that the proposed bill scales back family-sponsored immigration by eliminating the ability to sponsor siblings, or children over the age of 30. Likewise, LULAC is dispirited that same-sex couples may not benefit from the proposed legislation; and is opposed to making the pathway to citizenship contingent on additional border enforcement measures which are a waste of taxpayer dollars. There is sufficient data to indicate that border states are already safe – in fact the safest in the country – and misspending billions on apprehension and enforcement is nothing but an expensive attempt to win over immigration opponents.
“Our nation urgently needs a bi-partisan effective and practical immigration system that will reflect the best of America’s values,” said LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “The bill that has been crafted by the “Gang of Eight” is a strong step in the right direction for our country, and our families. Fixing our broken immigration system is long overdue, as immigrants have always contributed to the fabric of this country, and eight in ten are in favor of establishing pathways to citizenship. Our country has always stood as a beacon of unbridled opportunity for those who work hard and play by the rules. We cannot simply close our doors to honest, hard-working people that have sought freedom or economic opportunities in this great nation.”
LULAC has a rich history of advocacy in civil rights, economic development, immigration and equal opportunity. LULAC is committed to the passage of fair and just immigration reform and will continue to ensure that the final bill positively impacts the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are living in the shadows of a nation that prides itself on hard work, freedom and liberty.”
“WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund today issued the following statement on the introduction of bipartisan immigration reform legislation in the U.S. Senate:
“NALEO Educational Fund applauds the work of U.S. Senators who took an important step in moving immigration reform forward today by introducing bipartisan legislation. Our nation has struggled as a result of our broken system for far too long. It is time that we finally have a solution in place that strengthens American families and brings the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country today out of the shadows.
“We praise the U.S. Senators for acting and introducing legislation that acknowledges the significant contributions that immigrants and their families make by including a pathway to citizenship. Eight out of ten undocumented immigrants come to this country for opportunity and a better life for themselves and loved ones. This provision will help unite families and provide immigrants with the chance to pursue their piece of the American dream. The road to citizenship outlined in this plan remains a work in progress, but we know immigrants stand ready and willing to do their part to ensure the country continues to thrive for years to come.
“We commend the U.S. Senators for recognizing that immigration reform should reduce barriers to naturalization and improve the opportunities for all immigrants to become full participants in our society. The Office of Citizenship and New Americans will facilitate this critical process by providing the support local, state and federal entities need to help immigrants fully integrate into our civic and economic life. Additional measures, including the establishment of a public-private partnership through the U.S. Citizenship Foundation, will ensure immigrants are able to attain the knowledge and language skills necessary to effectively fulfill their responsibilities as community members and workers.
“While this bill marks significant progress on this issue, we remain concerned by the length of time immigrants must wait to pursue citizenship, limitations on health care access and substantial changes that would alter our nation’s family visa structure. We look forward to examining this legislative proposal in greater detail and working with members of the U.S. Senate to address these concerns and build upon this legislation in the coming weeks. We remain hopeful that together we can achieve meaningful immigration reform that is worthy of the American people and the contributions that immigrants and families play in the future growth and success of the nation.””
“We are happy to finally begin the national debate on immigration,” said Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org. “The Gang of Eight immigration proposal gives us a lot that millions of Latinos will discuss, but this bill will require fundamental improvements to truly fix our broken immigration system. The citizenship provisions are unfair and demand people jump through too many unnecessary hoops. The overwhelming focus on expensive, failed and deadly border security as the center of reform is not what the majority of Latino and other voters asked for. This bill may legalize many, but it does little to fundamentally fix the failed and broken system it was supposed to fix.”