America has always been a country of immigrants, and the legacy of their hard work remains with us even today. The American economy owes much of its competitiveness to newly-arrived workers, and American culture owes its richness and complexity to the cultural contributions of immigrants. I am proud to represent one of the most ethnically diverse districts in the country in Queens, New York, where I have witnessed the hard work and dedication of our immigrant communities. Furthermore, as a second-generation Chinese American, I understand firsthand the everyday struggles of such families as parents strive to provide a better life for themselves and their children. For this reason, it is imperative that immigration reform is both common-sense and compassionate, and I am fighting to make it so.
The laws that govern should reflect our dedication to American greatness. To ensure that the policies concerning immigration do, here’s what we need to focus on:
- Including the ‘pathway to citizenship’ program for our undocumented populations;
- Working to reunite children with their detained parents;
- Eliminating the family-visa backlog, which will allow for quicker family reunification;
- Requiring legal counsel for vulnerable immigrant populations;
- Increasing judicial discretion;
- Resolving issues concerning due process and reforming our courts;
- Providing visas for a range of workers that reflects the needs of our economy.
The economic stimulation and innovation of industry that immigration contributes is crucial to maintaining our American exceptionalism. But the current system is inefficient and in need of long-overdue improvements. We must make sure that our laws are equitable, non-discriminatory and fair. We must be sure to uphold a level of humanity as we consider the issue of immigration reform, which has very real consequences for both those living in our country now and for future generations.
More on Immigration
The following resources provide information to help immigrants understand their rights.
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) tonight welcomed President Obama’s use of executive action to protect millions of immigrants from deportation, just one week after she signed a letter to the President asking him to do so.