Why Progressives Should Join the Call for Commonsense Immigration Reform

Alan Jenkins

This week, thousands of community leaders and hundreds of local organizations are holding events in 40 cities to kick off the Campaign to Reform Immigration for America. In a national campaign launch event at the National Press Club and Campaign Summit on Wednesday in Washington, DC, they will call for commonsense immigration reform that offers real solutions, upholds our nation’s values, and moves us forward together.

Progressives should join and support this effort, for at least three reasons:

First, the campaign offers workable policies that will benefit struggling American citizens as well as immigrants around the country. One of the chief flaws of our broken immigration system is that the 12 million undocumented men, women, and children in our country have no realistic way to get legal and participate fully in our economy and society. They are subject to exploitative wages and working conditions that have ripple effects throughout our national workforce. And the tax dollars that their lawful income would bring are sorely needed by cash-strapped states, cities and towns. By contrast, the punitive approaches offered by immigration opponents—building walls at the border or rounding up and deporting 12 million people—are neither realistic nor humane.

Second, commonsense immigration reform will advance our shared values of fairness, accountability, and shared prosperity. Creating a system for undocumented immigrants to get legal, pay full taxes, learn English, and participate fully will be fairer for everyone, and will end the raiding of homes, due process violations, and detention of families (including young children) that none of us want to see in America, but that became part of the immigration landscape during the Bush administration.

Third, fixing our broken system is key to addressing many of the other priorities that progressives care about, from health care reform, to the strengthening of labor protections, to creating an economy that works for everyone. Commonsense immigration reform is not just another issue; it’s integral to building a stronger and more prosperous nation.

President Obama has said that he will begin moving immigration reform forward this summer. Progressives should stand behind him every step of the way, and ensure that the policy that emerges upholds our values, as well as our shared interests.

Comments