As the grandson of Irish immigrants, Ed Markey appreciates how America has, generation after generation, renewed itself by assimilating new immigrants into this great country. America continues to draw strength, vitality, and energy every day from a process of assimilating cultures, religions, and ethnic backgrounds of every kind from around the world.
Ed believes that our system of immigration is badly broken. As we seek to protect our borders from those who intend harm to our national security, we must also create a balance by allowing those who wish to work and thrive in the U.S. to do so through an efficient and legal process. The current system does not achieve this balance.
In the fall of 2005, the Republican-led Congress passed a seriously misguided enforcement-only bill which sought to criminalize undocumented immigrants, and those that provide health and humanitarian services to them. This bill would have led to mass deportation of an estimated 11 million individuals as well as the criminalization of doctors, social workers, and religious workers who provide social services to undocumented immigrants.
Ed opposed this bill and supports the Kennedy-McCain Senate immigration bill which calls for a guest worker program for law-abiding immigrants, requires undocumented immigrants to pay back taxes, emphasizes English learning, and provides more resources for border patrol agents and directly addresses the large backlog in VISA application processing. Ed feels this is a more realistic, balanced approach that confronts the situation from multiple fronts, from protection of our borders to a path towards residency for upstanding hardworking immigrants.
Currently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is unable to adequately respond to the large amounts of applications because the Bush administration has refused to provide the system the resources necessary to register, through a voluntary program, millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
The USCIS is already choked with huge backlogs and interminable application processing times, creating a disincentive for businesses to sponsor highly qualified researchers and professors from all over the world.
Ed Markey supports providing the resources needed to allow the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department to do its job, so that we can restore the faith of families and businesses that following the immigration rules will not be frustrated by an overworked or unresponsive bureaucracy.
Ed also believes that employment-based visa programs must be consistent with labor demands, that the delays that currently plague the immigrant visa process must be eliminated, and that the integrity of the refugee program, which allows persons in great danger due to political turmoil abroad to seek refuge in the United States, must be preserved.
The McCain-Kennedy Senate immigration bill directly addresses a majority of these issues. Unfortunately, Republican leadership in the House refused to consider the Kennedy-McCain bill. In the 110th Congress, Ed will work with his colleagues to ensure that balanced immigration reform can be accomplished.