What would you say to Bush about immigration?

Bush is at it again- today he gave a speech on his plans for immigration reform, outlined HERE We are fed up with his misguided and partisan approach to this major crisis for our country. Bush's counterproductive approach to immigration reform has all of us at FIRM wondering:

What would YOU say to President BUSH about immigration reform?

FIRM is a part of the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, a broad-based non-partisan coalition of organizations from across the country.

Here is what we had to say to President Bush:

Mr. President: On Immigration, It’s Time to Act

Washington, DC – The following is a statement by Clarissa Martinez, Campaign Manager for the Coalition for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (www.cirnow.org), a nationwide effort by immigrant advocacy, policy, labor, and faith-based organizations to achieve workable comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

For years, President Bush has stated his strong commitment to addressing our country’s desperate need for comprehensive immigration reform.  Unfortunately, the American people have little to show for that commitment and the clock is ticking.  There is a real opportunity this year to achieve real reform, and the White House can play an important role in getting this debate to the finish line.  The question is, what role will the White House choose to play?

Poll after poll indicates that the American people want action on immigration and support a path to citizenship for undocumented workers by a 2-to-1 margin.  Only skittish politicians misreading public opinion stand in the way of comprehensive reform that ends illegal immigration as we know it, by providing a workable approach that includes enforcement and border security, coupled with a realistic regulation of future immigration and a meaningful path to legal status for immigrants already here.  We need reform that reinstates law and order and strengthens our ideals of basic fairness, opportunity for all, and equal treatment under the law.

On immigration, presidential leadership means strengthening the resolve of members of Congress to leave partisan politics aside and move forward together.  While the President’s engagement is welcome, the plan recently leaked from the White House (link) undermines efforts of serious Republican and Democratic lawmakers to achieve the type of reform our country needs, and the American people are calling for.  The plan is simply unworkable, does not promote family reunification, does not protect worker’s rights, does not match the needs of employers, and does not meet our principles for what is needed to fix our immigration system.  And while the President speaks of the need to have lawmakers work together to reach a solution, his proposal plays to the hardliners in his party.

We would like to take the President at his word that he wants “a serious, civil, and conclusive debate” on immigration, but he must match his rhetoric with constructive action.  For example, President Bush says undocumented immigrants should pay a “meaningful penalty” for breaking the law in order to get on a path to citizenship.  Our back of the envelope calculations of what is in the President’s proposal indicates that a typical family of five would pay more than $64,000 and wait up to 25 years before they could apply for citizenship.  Surely the President will reconsider this lengthy and unworkable process and if he doesn’t, he is not being serious about a “conclusive debate” ending in legislation signed rather than stalemate continued.

For more information on comprehensive immigration reform visit: https://fairimmigration.org//organizers/2007-action-plan/strive-act-2007.html