By Jim Maisano
During my 16 years as County Legislator, I have concentrated on issues facing the County of Westchester and avoided interjecting myself into issues at the federal level.
However, I was asked to speak at a rally today in White Plains in support of immigration reform and accepted because this important issue cannot be avoided any longer and is a vital concern to the large immigrant population in my district. I just returned from the rally and am proud to have provided bipartisan support in advocating that Congress must pass legislation to create a legal procedure for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in this country to become American citizens.
I was impressed when President Bush took the lead in supporting national immigration reform about a decade ago, but was disappointed when Congress failed to support him and turned its back on 11 million immigrants waiting for action.
As a Republican elected official, I will continue to speak out for immigration reform and demand that the GOP be a big tent and diverse, and a party that reaches out to every American from every ethnicity. We Republicans like to say we are the “Party of Lincoln,” but we must do a better job of demonstrating this, and an excellent step would be to help the 11 million undocumented immigrants who want to live the American Dream.
I support the bipartisan effort in the U.S. Senate led by New York Sen. Schumer and Florida Sen. Rubio to craft immigration reform that can be supported by both parties and the majority of Americans. Eight Senators have set forth a common sense framework for a bipartisan approach to immigration reform:
- Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
- Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
- Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
- Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.
Here is a link to the Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that was released in January 2013: Bipartisan-Framework-For-Immigration-Reform
It is impressive to see this bipartisan group of Senators putting thoughtful governing over partisan stalemate. We all certainly want more compromise in D.C. Let’s all support immigration reform and demand that leaders in both political parties join together to pass a comprehensive law in 2013.