"Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to be free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." Emma Lazarus
As a native of Brooklyn, NY and a second generation American, I recognize that immigration is the foundation of our nation's development. Nearly every resident of this country can trace their family's arrival to America at some point over the last 400 years, and it is this fact which is responsible for the amazing cultural diversity we have in our community that helps make Brooklyn such a world class community in which to work and live.
Some of the ideas currently being debated, such as "touchback" and fines for undocumented immigrants, are anti-family and simply will not work. Supporters of these views are thinking only of our Northern and Southern borders. They fail to understand that America has a third border, consisting of the Caribbean and our nation's airports and seaports, and that many of our country's undocumented immigrants come through these places. For them, "touchback" would not be as simple as driving across the border to re-enter the U.S. Many people would be forced to fly hundreds--or even thousands--of miles to countries that may persecute them for returning. This policy would threaten lives and separate families.
As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants who came to New York City seeking a better future for themselves and their family, I believe it is vital that America upholds our tradition of keeping an open border. Each year, thousands of immigrants come to our country to work hard and contribute to our society. With them, they bring fresh ideas and new inspiration to the American spirit. America needs a comprehensive solution to our broken immigration system, but we must design a policy that is both fair to those wishing to make a life in this country and in line with the goals and ideals that Americans hold dear.
* Immigration bills I have co-sponsored: H.R. 1275-- American Dream Act
* H.R. 522-- Haitian Protection Act of 2007
* H.R. 750-- Save America Comprehensive Immigration Act of 2007
* H.R. 1071-- September 11 Family Humanitarian Relief and Patriotism Act
* H.R. 1176-- To provide discretionary authority to an immigration judge to determine that an alien parent of a United States citizen child should not be ordered removed, deported, or excluded from the United States
* H.R. 2221-- Uniting American Families Act of 2007