WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC welcomed the House Republican leadership decision to reengage immigration reform by issuing a set of principles, but expressed concerns about serious shortcomings in their approach. The Standards for Immigration Reform document was released at a House Republican retreat.
"We are glad that House Republicans are taking steps to move the legislative process forward on immigration reform," said Richard Foltin, AJC's Director of National and Legislative Affairs. "2014 should be the year that this issue, so critical for American society, finally is resolved."
"But, of utmost concern, the principles fail to establish a clear and reasonable path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented individuals in the United States," said Foltin.
"Moreover, the Republican principles would require the implementation of certain enforcement triggers before the undocumented could even live legally in the United States," Foltin continued. "Bringing these individuals out of the shadows and immediately giving them a legal status must be the first step in any immigration reform package."
AJC also pointed out that the principles overlook the importance of the family immigration visa system. "Family reunification is a core issue," said Foltin. "Any immigration reform proposal must include positive reforms to make it easier for families to reunite with their loved ones."
On the positive, the principles include important improvements to the U.S. immigration system, such as citizenship for undocumented youth who came to the U.S. at a young age, important updates for employment and temporary worker visas, and enforcement measures.
AJC urged House Republicans and Democrats to work together in the coming weeks to craft a solid and workable bill for comprehensive immigration reform.
Since its founding in 1906, AJC has been outspoken in support of fair and generous immigration policies, characterized by the rule of law. Comprehensive immigration reform will strengthen America's global competitiveness and enhance our national security, as well as allow hard-working immigrants an opportunity to succeed in the United States, for themselves and for future generations.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee