Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Chief Deputy Whip and Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement today after President Obama unveiled his proposal for reforming America's immigration system.
"America was founded on the idea of liberty and justice for all. Just like today's immigrants, our founders came to America to escape oppression and ensure opportunity for their children. It's long past due our laws live up to our values. The President today laid out a vision for an America that continues to be a beacon of hope for those aspiring to a better life.
"I am excited to see bipartisan momentum for comprehensive reform and support President Obama's comprehensive immigration reform proposal. Any reform proposal should have the following core tenets: a clear path to citizenship for those who are already in the US working and paying taxes; an expedited process for family reunification; and a workable employment verification system with strict penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants.
"Any proposal should also reform the process for accepting refugees--aspiring Americans fleeing war, persecution, or natural disaster--and give same-sex families the same rights that all families receive. Minnesota has the highest number of refugees per capita. Between 1999 and 2007, over 34,000 people resettled in Minnesota, from 30 different countries. Over 50,000 Somalis alone--many of them refugees--currently live in Minnesota.
"Immigrants in Minnesota and across the United States contribute to our culture, our economy, and our workforce. It's time we create an immigration system that rewards hard work and lives up to our values of liberty and justice for all."