March 19, 2010
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of members of People For the American Way, and in recognition of the more than hundred thousand who will gather on the National Mall on Sunday, we urge the Senate to take action on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). This issue is as critical to the welfare of our country as issues like healthcare reform and jobs. Addressing it means addressing the needs of all Americans.
We can no longer afford the failed enforcement-only approach we’ve taken for the past 20 years on immigration. Our current immigration laws break up families, and we end up spending millions on a system that clearly isn’t working. CIR would provide a fresh start and a sound, practical, humane solution. Such reform must include: a fair pathway to earned legalization that honors the hard work of immigrants and our tradition as a nation of laws; promotion and respect of family unity to keep spouses together and children with their parents; protection of opportunities for education and service through an expanded DREAM Act; protection of the due process right of all; enhancement of our national security by focusing our enforcement and security measures on serious criminals, drug runners, and terrorists; and an ending for immigration discrimination against lesbian and gay Americans so that these individuals may sponsor their permanent partners for immigration. All of these provisions speak to our core values of liberty, fairness, and equality.
Support for CIR is strong. In an America’s Voice/Benenson Strategy Group poll from December 2009, 66% of respondents supported this principle – 69% of Democrats, 67% of Independents, and 62% of Republicans. The more information they got, the better. Support overall jumped to 87% when more details about CIR were given.
The immigration crisis touches Americans of all sorts, and those who come to this country only to find that everywhere they turn a door is shut – often with many doors shut to them back home. Protecting national security does not mean that we must forego the opportunity sought by immigrants. Both concerns deserve attention. The Senate should address both by taking up comprehensive immigration reform.
Please secure our borders without violating our ideals.
Michael B. Keegan