Good Policy, Not Politics, Must Drive Immigration Debate

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
George Tzamaras

Good Policy, not Politics, Must Drive Immigration Debate!

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now!

WASHINGTON, DC - Everyone agrees that our current immigration system is broken. Families wait to be reunited for decades, employers cannot hire needed personnel because no visas are available, refugees are barred from the protection they need and deserve, and our borders remain unsecured.

The U.S. Senate has crafted legislation that would provide both security and workability-smart and fair border enforcement and safe, orderly, and legal paths to permanent status and eventual citizenship for deserving immigrants.

The House of Representatives, in contrast, has embraced a bill that provides neither security nor workability. And now House Republican leaders are taking their short-sighted plan on the road, in a two-month series of hearings that are intended to whip up their conservative base and focus attacks on the Senate approach.

House leaders would do well to re-evaluate in light of two events of the past week: the Utah 3rd District primary and new polling from the Manhattan Institute. Both of these events demonstrate that the American people are not misled by restrictionist posturing and sound bites and that they overwhelmingly embrace comprehensive immigration reform that will provide both security and workability and affirm our traditions as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

In Utah's 3rd District, U.S. Rep. Chris Cannon scored a solid 56-44 percent victory in the Republican primary, in a race focused mainly on immigration issues. Cannon's opponent called him "soft on illegal immigration" for embracing the Senate's comprehensive approach to immigration reform, and restrictionist groups poured tens of thousands of dollars into radio ads criticizing Cannon's stand on immigration.

On June 22, 2006, the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research released a new poll on immigration reform, conducted among 800 Republican likely voters by the Tarrance Group, a Republican polling firm, between June 12-15, 2006. This poll, like several others over the past year, found broad support for a comprehensive immigration reform plan that provides current undocumented immigrants with an opportunity for earned citizenship. Support is much stronger among likely Republican voters for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform than a plan that includes only enforcement and a guest worker program.

"The American Immigration Lawyers Association urges Congress to work together in favor of good policy - a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill -- and to not play politics," said newly installed President Carlina Tapia-Ruano. "The time is right for CIR. Americans want it and America needs it. Let's not lose the moment."


View the poll results at the Manhattan Institute's website, Our nation needs comprehensive immigration reform now.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 06062876.