Election Result a Win for Aspiring Citizens

November 6, 2012

Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, [email protected]

Voters: We Support a Pro-Immigrant Agenda That Keeps Families Together

CHICAGO — President Barack Obama has won a second term, beating Republican challenger Governor Mitt Romney. Latinos — the fastest growing voting bloc in the nation — provided crucial votes to Obama in swing states. Asian Americans and other voters of color also played a huge role in reelecting the president. Many voted for the president’s reelection not simply to support his positions but as a rebuke to Romney’s harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center:

“Americans have voted for a more inclusive country. Politicians on both sides of the aisle should finally realize that they can no longer scapegoat Latinos, immigrants, and other voters of color to score cheap political points among the xenophobic segments of our community without paying a price at the ballot box. President Obama, like Harry Reid two years ago, shrewdly recognized that his opponent’s harsh ‘self-deportation’ policies with respect to aspiring American citizens would only serve to drive Latinos and Asian Americans to vote against extremism.

“As a result, the mandate for President Obama, along with the newly elected members of Congress, should be clear: voters want an immigration system that treats aspiring citizens with dignity and provides a roadmap for those living and working here to integrate fully into society.

“We fully recognize that one person cannot accomplish immigration reform on his own. We expect President Obama to exert his considerable leadership to replace a system that has for too long shattered Latino and other immigrant families, and we expect Congress to come to the table. We will no longer tolerate the status quo of record deportations and aggressive detention policies, and politicians on both sides of the aisle should recognize that if they adhere to these draconian positions their political future is at risk. The demographic writing is on the wall: Republicans and Democrats alike should begin working now toward creating an inclusive society in the future, or they will risk losing the heart of future American voters.”

The Obama administration has an ambitious agenda, and many of their policies will have a profound effect on immigrants’ lives. Here are a few of the most important issues affecting immigrants today:

• Immigration reform. Though President Obama reiterated his support for immigration reform to Univisión and the Des Moines Register, precious little has been said about how he would achieve such reform. Immigrant families have suffered under record-breaking deportations; we must not allow these detention and deportation systems to continue to destroy immigrant communities simply because both parties cannot agree on how best to create a roadmap to citizenship for the men and women who are American in their hearts, if not by their papers.

• Immigrant access to health care. The Obama administration should continue to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in as robust a fashion as possible, and any effort to reform our broken immigration system must protect access to existing affordable care options for newly authorized immigrants. This includes repealing an ill-advised rule excluding young immigrants granted a reprieve from deportation under the administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

• Preventing family separation. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents should finally begin adhering to the memos issued by the administration that outline when an individual should be allowed to return to his or her family rather than undergo deportation proceedings. Currently, many individuals who should not be deported under the guidance are banished from the U.S., often leaving loved ones and children behind.

• Promoting economic justice for all workers and their families. Working immigrant families have the most to lose under sequestration budget negotiations that will take place in the coming months. President Obama and Congress must protect critical safety-net programs, including the Child Tax Credit and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), which help lift millions of families out of poverty each year.

• Promoting a level playing field for all workers. The administration and Congress must take steps to ensure that abusive employers don’t use immigration status to thwart labor rights or to gain competitive advantage over workers by vigorously enforcing the agreement between the U.S. Departments of Labor and and of Homeland Security to ensure that workplace immigrant apprehension and detention doesn’t undermine labor standards enforcement.

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