Over 100 mayors throughout the nation recently sent a letter to Members of Congress and it was inspiring. It seems that many of the mayors in this country are ready for a change and are getting tired of waiting around for Congress to make it happen.
The tone of the letter was polite and respectful, but the message was clear: we need immigration reform now! The full text of the letter can be found here, but I want to take some time to highlight a few of the main points.
The letter begins by recognizing the fact that, as mayors, these individuals see how important immigration reform is from a “ground-level.” This is to say that these mayors are in their communities every day and understand the moral and economic implications that immigration reform has on its citizens. These mayors also see how the lack of reform is hurting their cities.
Call to Action #1: Like the constituents we serve, we believe that a meaningful fix to immigration must begin with a strengthening of border security. Further, interior enforcement should be improved to enhance our ability to identify and remove visa overstays, but our state and local law enforcement must be able to remain focused on community policing.
Call to Action #2: We believe the nation would benefit from a less bureaucratic and more time-sensitive system that allows workers of all types - seasonal, agricultural, lesser-skilled and high skilled – to lawfully come to America, either temporarily or permanently, and contribute to our economy.
Call to Action #3: As we fix immigration, we must also provide a uniform system of employment verification. We recognize that competing technologies and approaches exist and believe they should be tested against one another in determining the best manner for accurately authenticating workers.
Call to Action #4: There are equally compelling moral dimensions also related to fixing immigration that underscore the importance of moving forward with the effort. We believe that it is vital for any immigration legislation to enable people to come out of the shadows and fully pursue the American Dream for themselves and their families. This is also essential to our efforts to combat crime and provide effective police protection for our citizens.
None of what these mayors are saying is anything different than what immigration advocates have been saying for years. Further, a lot of what is being suggested here is similar to what the current immigration reform bill, S. 744 has already proposed.
However, these mayors are taking what has been suggested in S. 744 and are making it human and real. Immigration reform is not just another stale piece of legislation. This is something that affects millions of immigrants living and working in the U.S. In reality, it is not just immigrants who should be aware of the bill, but all U.S. citizens should be interested in this discussion.
So, what do you think? Will this letter to Congress make any difference to those in the House who have been sitting on their hands? This one letter could be just the start of many more calls to action directed at Congress.