'We Cannot Keep Pushing Back Reform For Another Day'
Washington, DC - Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking him to make comprehensive immigration reform a legislative priority.
In his letter, Bennet urged Reid to advance comprehensive reform that will address a broken immigration system that is unsustainable for law enforcement, city and state governments, and our economy as a whole.
"It is imperative that we have a workable immigration system that balances the needs of our economy," Bennet wrote. "We cannot keep pushing back reform for another day."
The full text of Bennet letter is included below:
The Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate
S-221, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Majority Leader Reid:
I am writing to urge you to advance comprehensive immigration reform.
Major law enforcement leaders, business owners, religious denominations, civil rights leaders, respected economists, labor unions and a majority of Americans agree that the current immigration system is broken, and comprehensive immigration reform is necessary.
Comprehensive immigration reform must be tough, fair and practical. It must take substantial steps towards preventing further undocumented immigration into our country. This means securing our borders and enforcing the law against employers hiring undocumented workers. Employers must respect and comply with our immigration law and basic laborer protections, since allowing an underclass of workers hurts American as well as immigrant workers.
In order to obtain legal status, all immigrants who are undocumented must be required to register with the government, undergo background checks, learn English, admit they violated the law and pay appropriate fines and taxes. Those who have serious criminal records should be sent back to their country of origin. We should also make sure our cities and towns have the resources to integrate new immigrants into their communities.
I support comprehensive immigration reform because it will restore common sense and control to our immigration system, so that we are once again both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. Without reform, cash-strapped local governments are footing the bill for federal inaction and small businesses reliant on an immigrant workforce face uncertainty. It is imperative that we have a workable immigration system that balances the needs of our economy. We cannot keep pushing back reform for another day.
And I would like to make a specific comment about one particular provision that must be included in a comprehensive reform bill - the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act must be a part of comprehensive reform because it empowers the children of undocumented immigrants to pursue an education or serve in our military if they prove to be good students and good citizens. Taxpayers have invested too much already in the education of these youth to not afford them the opportunity to succeed. It is in all our interests to see that the DREAM Act is passed since having a college education or service in their military will help these youth become good citizens.
Our constituents sent us to Washington to advance practical solutions to tough problems; the broken immigration system is clearly one of these pressing issues that must be addressed. Comprehensive immigration reform is the right solution, and I look forward to working with you to advance a strong, bipartisan proposal this year.
Michael F. Bennet
United States Senator
CC: President Barack Obama
CC: Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, United States Senate Judiciary Committee
CC: Senator Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member, United States Senate Judiciary Committee
CC: Senator Charles Schumer
CC: Senator Lindsey Graham