Borderlands: Proposals for Humane Immigration Reform

CPT’s Borderlands Witness team offered the following reflections to help inform the current immigration debate.

OBSERVATIONS:
•    Current policy has failed.  It has not stemmed the flow of immigration; rather, it forces people to cross the border in more dangerous areas.  Deaths in the desert have reached an all-time high.
•    Construction of border walls as authorized by the Secure Fence Act of 2006 will further divide families and communities.  Walls are not an effective solution.
•    Any responsible immigration reform must address the status of the 12 million undocumented people currently living in the U.S.  Many families include both documented and undocumented members – there is a dire need to keep these families together.
•    The vast majority of immigrants come to work.  We must ensure humane working and living conditions for temporary guest workers.
•    A just policy must address the root causes of immigration.  Many Mexican and Central Americans have been forced out of their communities by crippling global economic policies.
INITIATIVES WE AFFIRM:
•    Providing a path to citizenship for immigrants who complete two years of college study and allow for in-state tuition rates for immigrant students (provisions contained in the DREAM Act - Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act). www.wikipedia.org/wiki/DREAM_Act
•    Granting temporary legal residency for undocumented laborers (two provisions contained in the AgJOBS Act - Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits and Security Act).  www.nfwm.org/pdf/AgJOBS/
•    Congressional visits to border cities to include those most directly affected in policy debates and decisions.
INITIATIVES WE CONSIDER HARMFUL:
•    Costly and ineffective efforts to secure the border by means of walls and virtual walls.
•    Detention of undocumented immigrants with no other criminal record.