Pelosi: 'Democrats Want Real Immigration Reform to Enhance Security, Promote Family Unity, Fairness, and Economic Opportunity'
January, 28 2004
Washington, D.C.-House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democratic Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Chair of the Immigration Task Force and immigrants' rights and advocacy groups at a news conference today to introduce comprehensive Democratic immigration reform principles:
"This is an important day for us. Democrats believe in real immigration reform that reunites families, provides economic opportunity for all, and enhances our security.
"President Bush's recent immigration proposal, unfortunately, falls far short of that. The President's policy does not create a meaningful pathway for citizenship and permanent residency. It does nothing about the backlog of millions of family-based immigration requests. It lacks basic labor protections for current and future workers. And it ignores one of our highest bipartisan priorities: to provide opportunities to immigrant students, so that America will sustain an educated workforce.
"The President's proposal, unfortunately, looks like a political ploy, and does have a solid foundation on which we can build an improved immigration policy.
"Democrats have a better way. Our principles address the realities of immigration policy.
"Democrats believe in family reunification. Our country believes in family values, so it would be consistent that families be united. Children should be with their parents. And no one should be stuck in a backlog that keeps them apart from their loved ones. Democrats believe in rewarding work and providing opportunities for legalization.
"Democrats strongly support bipartisan, balanced policies such as Congressman Howard Berman's AgJobs bill that would enable 500,000 agricultural workers to become legal permanent residents through earned legalization. Democrats also support Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard's bipartisan DREAM Act that would provide young immigrants with higher educational opportunities.
"Democrats recognize the value of immigrants to our society. Every single day, we are constantly reinvigorated by the arrival of newcomers with their determination, with their commitment to a better future, commitment to family values and their work ethic. Every day, we are strengthened by their courage, determination and the optimism that brought them to America. We believe in real immigration reform, not election year window dressing. If the President is serious about immigration reform, he should call for immediate action on the DREAM Act and the AgJobs bill.
"Democrats stand ready to work with the President to bring about bipartisan immigration reform that respects our core values-family unity, fairness, economic opportunity for all, and homeland security. We are ready to make progress today. We believe that these principles give us the foundation to do just that."