Principles for Immigration Legislation via @NLGnews National Immigration Project
December 13, 2012
“Five in, Five out” Handout via Lena Graber
- Grant Permanent Residence. Grant permanent residence to the undocumented population, including people with current unadjustable status, such as TPS, as well as those with prior orders of removal who have returned and/or are still living in the United States. Like those who entered without inspection and have resided here since, those with TPS or prior orders of removal are integral community members, parents, workers, business owners, and caregivers.
- Prioritize family immigration and reunification. Family immigration is a major cause of human migration, and reunifying families must be a centerpiece of immigration reform. This includes revising quotas and priority dates to grant immigrant visas for those who have been waiting, and promoting unification of families throughout the immigration process.
- Increase available visas for the future. The United States should make more visas available to all countries. There must be clear pathways to permanent residence and citizenship for those who seek to immigrate. Temporary work visas must be transferrable across different employers, and for those who desire, provide a pathway to permanent residence.
- Demilitarize the borders. Border Communities must be recognized as important cultural, economic, and historic communities that require protection and investment. Residents in border communities deserve equal rights, not to be occupied subjects of a militarized front with Mexico. Border Patrol must be held accountable to communities, and civic leaders from the border must have authority in policy-making in the border region.
- Protect the labor rights of all workers. All workers, including immigrants, must have equal rights to organize, to seek missed wages or other compensation, to hold employers accountable, to change employment, and to be protected from discrimination and mistreatment.
- End immigration detention. Liberty is a fundamental right of all human beings that must be protected. Mandatory detention, at the very least, must be abandoned. All people should be eligible for bond, regardless of prior immigration or criminal history. The government should not contract with private for-profit prison companies.
- Require proportionality in grounds of removal. Minor transgressions should not be grounds for deportation. Aggravated felonies should only include crimes that are actually major felonies and are convictions for aggravated offenses. Offenses defined by imposed sentences must be tied to the actual sentence received; and pleas of nolo contendere or other non-guilty findings should not be considered convictions for immigration purposes. No crime should categorically mandate deportation; more waivers should be available for relief from deportation.
- Take local police and sheriffs out of immigration enforcement. The encroachment of federal immigration enforcement on local public safety work has been detrimental to communities around the country. Immigrants must have equal access to justice and police protection, and not fear that lawfully contacting authorities will result in deportation.
- Stop the quota. ICE must practice actual prosecutorial discretion, and must end quotas for deportations or enforcement activities. An enforcement quota is fundamentally inconsistent with due process of law. ICE must close proceedings that will separate families and especially those that risk taking parents away from their children.
- End unfair criminal prosecutions. Individuals who have been deported and reenter the United States to reunite with their families should not be punished. Criminal prosecutions should not supplant civil immigration proceedings for people who have entered or reentered the country without authorization.