State and Local Leaders Press Case for Commonsense Immigration Reform
As commonsense immigration reform moves from the Senate to the House, a growing coalition of elected officials from across the country is urging Congress to fix our broken system. Last month, we heard from bipartisan state and local officials from the South, Southwest, Northeast, West, and Midwest on why they support immigration reform and how it will help their communities. In the past few weeks, state and local elected officials have further intensified their efforts to urge Congressional action.
State and local elected officials understand that commonsense immigration reform is the right policy for our country and makes good economic sense for middle class families. Earlier this month, the White House released a report highlighting the numerous and varied economic benefits of fixing our broken immigration system, including helping to grow our economy by creating new business and jobs.
Yesterday, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz spoke about the local economic costs of inaction on the federal level:
"Because the crux of the matter is that, while Congress and the federal government have the authority to set immigration law and enforce it, local governments live with the results of what Congress does and fails to do."
Below are some of the elected officials who recently added their voices in support for commonsense immigration reform:
On July 17th, Governors from 15 states sent a letter to Congress urging them to pass commonsense immigration reform and highlighting the economic benefits to their states.
"We all recognize that immigrants contribute a great deal to our economy and our culture. We should make sure they are fully integrated into the social, civic and economic fabric of American life and have access to the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else. As Governors, we encourage you to adopt bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation that reflects the values of our nation and contributes to the growth of our economies.”
After the U.S. Senate approved a comprehensive immigration bill on June 27th, the U.S. Conference of Mayors issued the following statement:
“The nation’s mayors applaud the Senate’s decisive passage of bipartisan legislation that will repair our broken immigration system…We urge the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s strong lead and adopt comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform legislation this year. This is the right thing to do for our families, our cities, our economy, and our country.”
Following the U.S. Senate vote, the National Association of Counties also weighed in on behalf of county officials across America:
“NACo applauds the U.S. Senate for passing bipartisan legislation which offers the best opportunity in many years to make long overdue reforms to our broken immigration system. NACo endorses many of the key provisions of the bill, including the earned path to citizenship, modernizing the legal immigration system, a sensible guest worker program, and improving border security.”
A bipartisan group of Attorneys General from 35 states and territories sent a letter to Congress voicing their support and noting the value of an increased workforce:
“Our immigration system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states, with state input, while protecting the interests of workers. This includes a visa system that is both responsive and effective in meeting the demands of our economy. It should also acknowledge the beneficial economic contributions immigrants make as workers, tax payers, and consumers. Our immigration policies, where possible, should prioritize keeping families together in order to ensure the most supportive home environment for all the children across our country. Our immigration policies must provide a sensible means to deal with the immigrants who re currently in the country without legal status but are of good character, pay taxes and are committed to continuing to contribute to our society.”
Finally, the National League of Cities, which represents over 19,000 municipalities across the country, also offered their support of the Senate passed bill:
“This legislation offers a common sense solution to our broken structure, and gives hope to city leaders across the country who every day must deal with the consequences of the current fragmented system. [The Senate] vote affirms what our residents have been telling us -- the time for reform is now!”
State and local officials experience firsthand the impacts of a broken system, and their voices provide a useful perspective in the national debate on immigration reform. In the weeks ahead, we will continue to highlight their views and the role that immigration plays in creating strong state and local economies.
For more information, visit the White House’s immigration page.
David Agnew is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.