Following President Obama's stirring speech at American University, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) joined him in calling on her colleagues to overhaul America's broken immigration system. Her statement is as follows:
"This morning President Obama described a credible path to comprehensive immigration reform--one that respects both our security and our heritage as a nation of immigrants.
As the President explained, protecting our borders and enforcing our laws are indispensable elements of any meaningful effort to reform our immigration system. He described how under serious proposals like the one I co-authored with other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, undocumented immigrants and the unscrupulous employers who exploit them would be held accountable for their actions. People who entered this country illegally would be compelled to register, pay a significant fine and learn English. Business owners would be directed to take important steps to maintain a legal workforce. These are essential building blocks of reform and I fully endorse them even as I recognize that, by themselves, they are entirely insufficient to address this pressing national challenge.
Like President Obama, I know that newcomers are the source of America's vitality and the basis for its continuous renewal. Like him, I understand that in addition to its manifold economic and security benefits, immigration reform remains fundamentally a moral question--a "matter of fidelity to the shared values that we all hold so dear.'"
Congress should heed the President's call to action and immediately begin the difficult process of transforming the immigration laws and policies that are the source of so much suffering. The costs of inaction are rising. The child cruelly separated from her parents and the brave veteran whose spouse faces deportation can't afford further delays. We can realize the President's vision of a system that "reflects our heritage and our values', but only if we refuse to accept excuses or embrace half-measures that fall short of true comprehensive reform."