June 18, 2009

Editorial published in the Tennessean

Here is the editorial which ran in the Tennessean on June 17, 2009;

"June 4-6, I attended the American Immigration Lawyers Association annual meeting in Las Vegas, where I received the AILA Advocacy Award for Outstanding Efforts in Support of AILA's Legislative Agenda.

Any long-term solution to our nation's immigration problems must begin with a comprehensive approach to reform that addresses all aspects of our immigration system. Piecemeal reforms have been tried, and they have failed. Our government has pursued a tough, enforcement-focused strategy for the past 10 years, and the flow of undocumented immigrants has only increased.

Virtually everyone, from national security experts and chambers of commerce to religious leaders and labor unions, who has studied our immigration system agrees: An enforcement-only approach simply will not work, and the only viable path to a lasting and meaningful solution is holistic, comprehensive reform.

Effective reform must:

• Encourage the undocumented population to come out of the shadows and earn legal status.

• Provide fair and lawful ways for American businesses to hire much-needed immigrant workers.

• Reduce unreasonable and counterproductive backlogs in family- and employment-based immigration.

• Protect our national security and the rule of law while preserving and restoring fundamental principles of due process and equal protection.
'Earned adjustment' will work

Our current immigration system is broken, and needs to be reformed. Immigration laws that are out of sync with 21st-century economic realities and demographics have given rise to a vast underground economy, characterized by criminal smugglers, fake documents and millions of undocumented immigrants who are vulnerable to exploitation. Our borders are unmanageable, and we are unable to focus our enforcement resources on those who mean us harm.

The most realistic solution is a flexible program of "earned adjustment," often referred to as "earned legalization." Such a program requires undocumented immigrants to earn legal status by demonstrating past work history, paying significant fines, undergoing rigorous security and background checks, learning English and American civics, and making good on any back taxes. Undocumented immigrants who successfully jump through all of these hoops do not gain preferential treatment over others who have been waiting for their green cards.

Any truly comprehensive reform program must address our outdated permanent immigration system and eliminate the multiyear backlogs for family-based and employment-based green cards. The ostensible goals behind our permanent immigration policies include promoting family unification, facilitating immigrant assimilation, and unleashing immigrants' economic dynamism.

Americans come to the immigration debate from many perspectives: as employers and workers who understand immigration allows their businesses to thrive; as individuals who believe in core American values of family unification, civil rights and due process; as national security experts who know that comprehensive reform is crucial to securing our borders; and as members of religious institutions who believe in the humane treatment of all individuals. Despite their different perspectives, the majority of these Americans come together in support of a comprehensive solution that provides earned legalization, enhanced legal immigration channels, family reunification and effective enforcement".


Posted by VisaLawyer at June 18, 2009 07:58 AM


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