Bipartisan Immigration Reform Legislation Introduced in House; NAFSA Urges Action

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NAFSA: Association of International Educators today released the following statement in response to the introduction of a bipartisan, commonsense, and comprehensive immigration bill in the House of Representatives: 

As of today, for the first time, the House of Representatives has before it a bipartisan approach to comprehensive immigration reform. The "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" introduced today in the House consists of most of the bill that was drafted by a bipartisan group of eight senators and passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Senate, and border security provisions that were reported out of the House Homeland Security Committee with a unanimous bipartisan vote. This is the first bipartisan approach to comprehensive immigration reform to be introduced in the House, and is the only such bill now pending. As such, this bill should now become the basis for discussion in the House, and should be moved through the process expeditiously with a view to passing a bill this year. The Senate gave its bill a thorough debate, put it through regular order, considered dozens of amendments, and passed it in two and a half months. The House can and should do the same. This issue has been debated in the House all year; it is ready for action. This bill would pass the House if brought up today. There is no excuse for not moving it forward and bringing it to the floor this year.

NAFSA:  Association of International Educators, the world's largest association of international education professionals, has a particular interest in the provisions of this bill that would make our country more attractive to international students and scholars, remove unnecessary obstacles to their entry into the United States and our colleges and universities, ease the path to green cards for those who choose to remain and invest their talent in this country, and increase the number of green cards available to them. This bill will make the United States more attractive and accessible for talented people.

But we understand that our country cannot be competitive for talented individuals in the context of a broken immigration system. This system urgently requires a comprehensive fix. That is why we are a proud member of the massive coalition that supports comprehensive immigration reform. The House must pass comprehensive legislation this year which:  creates an achievable path to citizenship for the aspiring Americans who now lack documentation, and keeps families together; provides legal access to our country for the workers our economy requires and protects them from exploitation; and creates borders that deter unlawful entry while facilitating legitimate traffic and commerce and respecting human rights.

The bill introduced today could be improved in each of those respects. But it makes giant strides toward achieving these objectives. We urge the House to give it the priority it deserves, and bring it up for a vote this year.

With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education. Visit us at www.nafsa.org/policy. To learn more about our advocacy efforts, visit www.ConnectingOurWorld.org and follow @ConnectOurWorld on Twitter.

SOURCE NAFSA: Association of International Educators



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