AILA Urges Congress to Act Swiftly to Complete a Comprehensive Immigration Reform Plan

DATE: Wednesday, November 8, 2006

CONTACT: George Tzamaras

WASHINGTON, DC - After the dust settles on this election, one hard fact will remain unchanged: America continues to suffer from a failing immigration system. With electoral posturing temporarily quieted, we urge the new Congress to act swiftly and complete work on a fair, practical immigration reform plan.

The Senate started us down the right path last spring, with the historic debate on and passage of a bipartisan bill, S. 2611. But House leadership stymied that effort and the legislation remains stalled. The new Congress must overcome this impasse and construct a realistic immigration system that meets the needs of our economy, our families, and our national security.

"We have families waiting decades to be reunited, businesses unable to access the labor and talent they need to grow and compete, and lawlessness on our borders," said AILA President, Carlina Tapia-Ruano. "Why? Because political gridlock has prevented us from updating our immigration policies to meet the realities of 21st century America." And now, a giant impediment to meaningful reform of our immigration system has been dislodged. No longer can it be argued that support for practical, comprehensive reform is political suicide. To the contrary, the tired message of "seal the borders" and the inflammatory battle cry of "repel the hordes" failed miserably for anti-immigration candidates around the country.

"The rigid, impractical position on undocumented immigration set forth by hardliners failed to connect with voters," said Ms. Tapia-Ruano. "Americans want a comprehensive approach to immigration reform; over and over, public opinion polls indicate that over 70 percent of Americans favor a comprehensive approach to immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship and a guest worker program."

President Bush opined today that there is a "good chance" the next Congress can pass comprehensive reform, which he characterized as "an issue where I believe we can find some common ground with the Democrats." We agree. A practical solution to our immigration woes is at hand; now all the new Congress has to do is seize it.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

For more information contact George Tzamaras at 202-216-2410 or Brooke Hewson at 202-216-2435.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 06110910.