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Progressive Push For Common-Sense, Reality-Based Approach to Immigration Gains Momentum

 

With the failure of the DREAM Act in the US Senate in December 2010, it is likely that any and all developments in immigration policy will occur at the state level.  State legislators have already played key roles in framing the debate on immigration at the state level, and their influence is slated to grow in 2011. Unfortunately, this includes anti-immigrant forces, who just this week launched a multi-state legislative attack on the 14th Amendment of the Constitution that aims to take away the guarantee of citizenship to all children born in the United States.

As such anti-immigrant efforts become more and more extremist, an increasing number of members of state legislatures are focusing on common-sense, practical approaches to immigration policy at the state level - many working through State Legislators for Progressive Immigration Policy (SLPIP).  These progressive state legislators, whose numbers have doubled since the passage of Arizona's SB 1070 in early 2010, are already introducing and advancing pro-immigrant legislation at the state level for the 2011 legislative session.  If you are a state legislator, click here to join SLPIP. 

PSN's progressive legislative agenda on immigration at the state level upholds workplace standards and anti-racial profiling protections for all residents, including immigrants; highlights the importance of educational access for immigrant students; and underscores the important role immigrant small business entrepreneurs often play to sustain and grow local economies.  

Our legislative agenda on immigration makes sense because it is revenue-neutral or even revenue-positive (wage enforcement and tuition equity) and provides a common-sense, solutions-based approach to immigration policy at the state level that will in turn expand opportunity for all residents and respond to the reality of immigration.

Specific policies include:

  • Wage Enforcement and Workers' Rights: Defuse attacks against immigrant workers and raise the wage floor by enforcing existing wage and hour laws, which apply to workers regardless of immigration status.
  • Community Policing: Foster community trust in state and local law enforcement by barring police from enforcing federal immigration laws and racially profiling people based on immigration status.
  • Immigrant Integration: Welcome immigrants into communities by supporting their options to learn English, take civics classes, and get an affordable education at state universities and colleges.
  • Health Care: Expand health care access for immigrant children with legal status and pregnant women.
  • Support Immigrant Small Business Entrepreneurs: Promote a certification processes that allows immigrants to open small businesses. 

For more information on our work on immigration policy or the 2011 Immigration Policy Options, please contact: Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Policy Specialist 212-680-3116, ext 113; sraghunathan@progressivestates.org.

This article is part of PSN's email newsletter, The Stateside Dispatch.
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