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Public Statements

Issue Position: Immigration

Issue Position

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Congresswoman Napolitano believes that immigrants have played a vital role in the development of the United States, and we should continue to realize and appreciate the vital resources which immigrants bring to this nation.

Congresswoman Napolitano supports a comprehensive overhaul of the whole immigration system, which on one hand severely reduces the processing time for immigration applications, allows currently undocumented aliens to obtain time-limited working visas with the possibility of eventually becoming permanent residents or citizens, and at the same time applies more effective enforcement at our borders.

Below are some of the key projects that she will be working on in the immediate future:

Comprehensive immigration reform: Congresswoman Napolitano is committed to work towards a comprehensive immigration reform. Currently, a broken and ineffective immigration system leaves hundreds of immigrants dead in the desert along the southern border to our country. Millions of undocumented immigrants are forced to live in obscurity from the authorities and the law, with severe effects to their lives and families. This is unacceptable, and has to change. Immigration reform must be comprehensive and bipartisan to work.

How to deal with illegal immigration: Illegal immigration is a problem that Congress, the White House and our local communities need to address in a serious manner. There have been many suggestions with emphasis on merely hiring more border patrol agents. This is an ineffective waste of money, which will not solve the problem of illegal immigration. We are fooling ourselves if we think that we can hold back illegal immigration with enforcement-only measures. The only real solution is to open up legal, controllable channels through which labor can flow in an aboveground, orderly way. We should step up enforcement, but this will only work if coupled with a well-functioning temporary working visa program.

Congresswoman Napolitano is against immigration reform measures which only seek to push illegal or undocumented immigrants further into the shadows of society, where they live in fear and are in constant danger of being exploited. This poor treatment should not exist in 21 st century United States.

The root causes to illegal immigration need to be addressed - poverty, lack of opportunity south of the border and extremely long processing times for legal immigration. In some cases, it has been made nearly impossible for immigrants to come here legally. Many immigrants seek to enter the United States legally to join members of their family who are already here, but the backlogs for these cases often result in five, six or even seven years of waiting, and they end up entering illegally. We need to reduce this backlog and raise the statutory ceiling for family reunification visas, which is too low to meet contemporary requirements.

Congresswoman Napolitano does not support blanket amnesty to illegal or undocumented immigrants who are currently in the country, but does support measures which would enable these immigrants to adjust their status to a time-limited working visa, with options to become permanent residents. The vast majorities are outstanding, hardworking individuals who have jobs and families and own homes and businesses in the United States, and are assets to their communities. Working visas would furthermore ensure that these millions of people can lead normal lives out of the shadows of society, and that their children can attend school, receive health care, and that they can contribute to their community by paying taxes. Proposals to locate and deport 11 million people should only be seen as partisan politics, not a serious policy statement.

Working visas: The United States issues about 5.000 visas for unskilled year-round labor annually, but the US labor market requires hundreds of thousands of new workers to perform tasks which are vital for our agriculture, service and caring industries. We need these workers but our policies force them underground. But not only that, unrealistic policies are impossible to enforce, which creates problems for our law enforcement community.


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