Comprehensive Immigration Reform
The 216th and 220th General Assemblies reiterated a call for comprehensive immigration reform by the federal government. While most people will agree that current U.S. immigration policies are broken, they disagree on what would be smart immigration policy. It has been many years since the U.S. last overhauled the immigration system, instead it has looked, piecemeal, at individual aspects of the law to make changes. What has resulted is an immigration law that is complex at best.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) is the notion that Congress needs to conduct a review and change the entire immigration system to better reflect the needs of our country and that of immigrant families. The 220th General Assembly adopted the recommendations of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for what would make for a just and workable immigration policy. Those recommendations include:
- creating legal avenues for people to enter the U.S.;
- allowing people already here to earn the opportunity to adjust their status;
- addressing the multiyear backlogs in family and employment based immigration; and
- creating and implementing a smart border security and enforcement regime that respects core principles of due process.
Currently there is no law introduced that would provide our country with serious reform. In September 2012 President Obama stated that his greatest failure of his first term was the inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform. However, that reform will only occur if the public builds support for it. Efforts to accomplish the policy set forth by the General Assembly must start locally, by educating the community on the reality of the current immigration system and what makes for just and proper immigration policy.
The Office of Immigration Issues created a Tool Kit that will help build local support for eventual immigration reform. The Kit includes referrals for more information and a brief summary of the current situation.
The Immigration Policy Center, research and policy arm of the American Immigration Council, has created a document, Opportunity and Exclusion: A Brief History of U.S. Immigration Policy. The document gives a brief summary of immigration laws in the U.S. and discusses recent changes to the law.
Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a campaign of Sojourners, educates and mobilizes Christian organizations, churches, and leaders from across the theological and political spectrum to advocate for comprehensive U.S. immigration reform and compassionate immigration policies at the state level. At their website you will find stories and materials to assist you in local immigration reform and advocacy efforts.
The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) is a reliable source of information on U.S. immigration law and policy. AILA is a voluntary association of immigration lawyers from across America and is dedicated to fair and reasonable immigration laws and quality legal representation.
The National Immigration Law Center has posted on their website past proposals for immigration reform and news articles related to that reform.