Monday, December 11, 2006

Congressional Leaders Begin to Meet: Focus on Future Immigration Strategy

Respect for Basic Rights is Key to Progress

U.S. Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) met with Representatives Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to discuss immigration reform legislation strategy this past week. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Representative Flake, has indicate that Congress plans to introduce legislation in the "late winter." President Bush also met with members of the Blue Dog Coalition comprised of conservative Democrats and the New Democrat Coalition last week. According to Representative Mike Ross (D-AK), who is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, President Bush has indicated that he could work with these groups on immigration reform, Congressional Quarterly reports.

Issues in the upcoming debate include a path to permanent residency and citizenship for undocumented immigrants, guest worker programs, employer sanctions, and border enforcement. A group opposed to comprehensive immigration measures recently launched an anti-immigration radio ad in California. AFSC Area Director Pedro Rios in San Diego said the ad "borders on racist notions of who is valuable to be in this country and who isn't."

AFSC has repeatedly reinterated that lasting immigration reform laws and policies must recognize the humanity of all persons and the contributions of immigrants to this country. Future immigration reform policies must be based on the human rights of immigrants and non-immigrants and respect for the labor rights of the nation's workers. AFSC and the Project Voice Network policy team will continue to provide timely updates on this critical issue, and continue to press for the inclusion of humane principles on immigration reform in forthcoming Congressional meetings and debates.