All immigration laws must be grounded in civil, human, and labor rights. Now, more than ever, we must stand up to racism and bigotry. We cannot allow a right-wing agenda to divide us with anti-immigrant hatred and xenophobia.
Underscoring my agreement with the CDP’s platform, I believe we must establish an immigration policy that stops the criminalization of communities of color and keeps families together. More than 85 percent of undocumented immigrants have resided in the United States for over five years. We should expand President Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans) programs accordingly. We must provide relief for those children who arrive to our country unaccompanied, the DREAMers and the parents of citizens, legal permanent residents, and others who have no such protections under current law.
Far too often, deportation programs like the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) have unjustly turned local law enforcement into immigration enforcement officers. Racial profiling and the criminalization of communities of color form the foundation of these racist policies with no compassion for the fact that these aspiring Americans and immigrants contribute to the local economy, have U.S.-citizen children and spouses, and strong community ties, often for years.
We have made significant strides by passing overtime pay for farmworkers. But we still see the exploitative nature of temporary guest worker programs as employers routinely cheat workers out of wages, hold them captive by seizing documents, impose inhumane living conditions and deny medical treatment for on-the-job injuries.
On even another front, we find ourselves held hostage to xenophobic fear and hatred as the Trump administration imposes draconian measures to deny safe haven for those escaping war and persecution (unless of course, they are doing business with him). The stopping and denial of entry of Muslims simply because of their religion – by demonstrated action, Islamophobia – must not be tolerated under any circumstances. We must honor the historic role our nation has provided as a protector of the vulnerable and oppressed seeking relief and a place to call home.
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