Steering Committees Endorse Immigration Policy Language

Article excerpt

Steering committees for two NLC policy and advocacy committees last week endorsed proposed policy language on comprehensive immigration reform, including a process for earned legalization and ultimately citizenship for undocumented workers currently living in the United States.

Meeting in Wichita, Kan., the Human Development (HD) Steering Committee, chaired by Councilor Karen Geraghty of Portland, Maine, developed new policy to sharpen NLC's position on comprehensive immigration reform. The committee also supported a resolution that summarizes all of NLC's positions on immigration reform.

The Community and Economic Development (CED) Steering Committee, chaired by Councilmember Henry Marraffa of Gaithersburg, Md., also endorsed the principles included in the draft resolution.

The action came as the Senate was moving on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. (See related story on page 1.)

Both the proposed language from the HD committee and the resolution will be considered by the Board of Directors when it meets July 20 in West Virginia.

The Public Safety and Crime Prevention Steering Committee, led by Councilmember Marty Siminoff of Brea, Calif., will review its policy language on enforcement of immigration laws and the draft resolution when it meets next month in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

HD's work on immigration policy came after a series of presentations to bring committee members up to date on issues and challenges posed by the large number of undocumented workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor, the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce and the SER Corporation all brought important perspectives on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

The White House's Ruben Barrales, deputy assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs, also spoke to the committee members to affirm the Administration's focus on comprehensive immigration reform.

After extensive learning, debate and analysis, the HD Steering Committee recommended strengthening NLC's immigration policy and developing some new policy to fill in gaps in the HD chapter of the National Municipal Policy including:

* Stronger language on federal enforcement of immigration laws, especially workplace enforcement and an effective, non-counterfeitable worker verification system;

* Clearer language on legal avenues of immigration, including a temporary "guestworker" program, legal permanent residence, and naturalized citizenship;

* Policy addressing the 11 to 12 million undocumented workers, with consensus that an earned path to legalized status and ultimately citizenship would be worthwhile; and

* Stronger policy on federal assistance to local communities for language services, health care, education and civic integration.

If this position is adopted by the NLC Board, NLC would support establishment of a process whereby undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States may earn legalized status through a variety of steps. …