(Editor’s note: This editorial was produced in association with New America Media [http://www.newamericamedia.org], a national association of ethnic media in the United States, and was published by ethnic media across the country to bring attention to the urgency of immigration reform.)
The White House and Congress must move quickly to enact just and humane comprehensive immigration reform.
In the wake of the 2012 elections, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed the need to act on the issue. The window for bipartisan legislation is now open.
Ethnic media have a high stake in the future of immigration policy in this country. That’s why we are joining together to take an editorial stand to urge Congress and the White House: Make 2013 the year of immigration reform.
This is not merely a question of politics. We are calling for comprehensive immigration reform because it is the morally right, economically wise and pragmatically sensible thing to do.
Our country is a nation of laws, and it is clear that U.S. immigration laws need to be overhauled. The immigration system is broken, not only for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, but for the thousands of immigrants who are unable to get visas to work in the United States; for American businesses that can’t hire the workers they need; for the families who wait for years to get visas to join their relatives in the United States.
We need comprehensive immigration reform that will reunite families, reinvigorate the economy, and revive our identity as a nation that thrives on the contributions of hard-working immigrants.
It’s clear that our federal immigration laws are not working. Federal inaction on immigration has led states from Arizona to Alabama to write their own legislation. Even the recently announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a temporary band-aid that does nothing to solve the larger problem of a broken immigration system.
Immigration has been portrayed as a divisive issue. In reality it’s not. All of us would benefit from an effective immigration system that responds to the needs of the market, protects all workers from abuse and exploitation and puts an end to the practice of separating parents from their children.
We need an immigration system that reflects the best traditions of our history — our belief in justice, equality, and economic opportunity.
And as we look to the future, we must make sure that we remain competitive in an increasingly globalized world. We need to continue to attract the best and the brightest, to be the destination of the world’s most innovative workers.
We must act now. Our economy and our future depend on it.