With more than 12 million immigrants living in the United States without legal status, millions of close family members waiting abroad to join their loved ones, and the continued detention and deportation of members of our community, it is clear that our immigration system is broken. That is why I support comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) that addresses all aspects of the issue and includes a path to citizenship. I created this short video to help others better understand immigration reform.
Pathway to Citizenship
I support a comprehensive immigration reform plan that includes a fair pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. It is not enough to expand visas for high skilled employees and agricultural workers while hoping that the rest of the 11 million immigrants living in this country self-deport. Those who have worked hard, have lived in this country without committing serious criminal offenses, and believe in the American Dream should be given the opportunity to follow a path to become citizens. However, supporting a pathway like this does not prioritize undocumented immigrants over those currently awaiting naturalization and clearing any backlog should be prioritized.
I believe that young people who were brought to the United States at a young age and raised as American's deserve the opportunity to stay in this country and receive an education. The DREAM Act would provide temporary legal status for these immigrants, provided they attend college or join the military. This legislation also removes the federal penalties for states that do not take into account immigration status in the provision of college financial aid. The DREAM Act was passed by the House of Representatives in 2010, but was held up by Senate. As the 113th Congress addresses immigration reform, I will be pushing for the DREAM Act’s inclusion in any comprehensive bill.
Millions of families spend years apart because of the large backlog of family-based visas. We need to address the limitations and inefficiencies in our system that have led to this backlog and prioritize family-based immigration. That is why I am a cosponsor of the Reuniting Families Act, a bill that would do just that.
In addition, I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the “Uniting American Families Act.” Under current law, LGBT Americans are denied the opportunity to sponsor their permanent partners for residency in the United States. Many of these couples are married under the laws of the states in which they reside, but they are treated differently than are straight married couples. Family unification is one of the fundamental principles of our nation’s immigration laws, and the Uniting American Families Act will ensure that all binational couples are treated equally and fairly. The passage of this Act will strengthen these families and make our nation more economically competitive.
The U.S. Economy and Workforce
Many immigrants fill gaps in our workforce that would otherwise leave some businesses struggling to find employees. This is especially true in states like California, where agriculture is a large part of the economy. Furthermore, it is to America’s advantage to encourage the immigration of foreign citizens with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), who will spur the development of innovative and efficient technologies.
To view my speeches and interviews related to immigration, click here.
If you'd like to send me your thoughts on this issue, you can email me here.