The United States is a proud country of immigrants, and Minnesota is a shining example of this history. As with past generations, new Americans want what all Americans want: safe neighborhoods, good schools, and the chance to raise a family and succeed. Immigrants today are often asked to work in the toughest jobs for the least amount of pay, and are cast into the shadows of our society. Our immigration system is broken, and I am committed to working in Congress to fix it.
I believe immigration rules need to be straightforward, fair, and predictable. They currently are not. I am committed to passing comprehensive immigration reform and have co-sponsored such legislation in my two terms in Congress. I believe that our reformed immigration system should include a clear path to citizenship for those who are already in the U.S. working and paying taxes. We need to put families first and have an expedited process for family reunification and believe that the federal government has an obligation to clear up the lengthy backlog of family visa requests. I also believe we need to pass The Dream Act, which is legislation designed to increase access to higher education for the children of immigrants and give them an opportunity to succeed and give back to their communities.
I am a strong supporter for keeping Liberian Americans in our communities. In 1989, a civil war in Liberia displaced over half the country's population and many Liberians sought refuge in the United States. More than 30,000 Liberians reside in Minnesota and an estimated 1,000 currently are living under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status. Since 1991, these refugees have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status. I worked in 2007 and 2009 to get Presidents Bush and Obama to extend the DED for Liberians in the United States, but now I'm working on a more permanent solution. I have introduced the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, which would allow Liberians who were brought to the United States legally under temporary protection status classification to apply for permanent residency.