I write in response to your comments calling for the elimination of "entire categories of family immigration" in exchange for legalizing undocumented immigrants. Hard-working undocumented immigrants who contribute to our economy do deserve a chance to come out of the shadows. This does not and need not happen at the expense of many US citizens and LPRs who have been waiting for years to be reunited with their family members in the US. Your comments fail to recognize that the tremendous backlog in the family immigration system and the large number of undocumented immigrants are the products of the same broken immigration system. People come to the US for complex and overlapping reasons – to work, to reunite with their family members, to escape persecution, to create a better life for themselves and for their children. Employment and family immigration are inextricably intertwined. Immigrants who come to the US through the employment-based immigration system use the family immigration system to reunite with their families once they become US citizens and lawful permanent residents. Rather than pitting one deserving group of immigrants against another, we ought to work to fix the broken immigration system comprehensively. There is a bill in Congress that would do just this – the SOLVE Act. The SOLVE Act would offer earned legalization to hard working undocumented immigrants already living in the US, as well as create break-the-mold temporary worker programs to ensure legal channels of migration for essential workers. It would also reduce the inhumane backlogs in the family immigration system. We can and will achieve comprehensive immigration reform, but only if we don't all stand in a circle and shoot each other.
J. Traci Hong, Deputy Director for Policy
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium
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