OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA — Today the Dignity Campaign, a national network of immigrant rights organizations, churches, unions and community groups, is calling on President Obama to adopt principles for immigration reform that prioritize human and labor rights.
Dignity Campaign organizations call for a much more progressive vision of immigration reform, worthy of the America that President Obama described in his inauguration speech, based on the following principles:
1. End the enforcement overkill that has led to 400,000 deportations a year, hundreds of deaths on the border, and thousands of workers fired from their jobs. The employer sanctions provision of current immigration law should be repealed and immigration enforcement should not target working people supporting their families. Our borders should be demilitarized and civil rights restored in border states and communities. Cooperation between police and immigration agents must end, and massive privately-run detention centers closed.
2. The twelve million undocumented people living in the United States should be given permanent residence status in a rapid and inclusive process, without excessive fees, fines, waiting periods or a preliminary temporary status. They should be eligible for naturalization within 5 years.
3. Existing guest worker programs, which have a long well known record of exploitation and legal violations, should be ended. The backlogs in family visas should be resolved by issuing visas to all people currently waiting within one year. A process for future legal immigration should be established, without forcing people to accept visas that tie their ability to stay in the country to their jobs, or allow employers to recruit vulnerable people as a way of lowering wages.
4. Existing U.S. trade policy must be reformed so that treaties like NAFTA and structural adjustment programs no longer cause poverty and the displacement of communities in Mexico, the Philippines and other developing countries. Massive migration caused by poverty can only be addressed by changing those policies that cause poverty in the first place. President Obama promised to renegotiate NAFTA before his first election, and that promise must now be kept as part of a humane immigration policy.
The Dignity Campaign proposal and other related documents are available for download at http://www.dignitycampaign.org – 30 –