On Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, AFSC submitted testimony for inclusion in the Congressional Record for the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Immigration. The testimony is excerpted below, and available for download (PDF) in full.
Our immigration policy recommendations are grounded in AFSC’s history and values as a faith-based organization and in the voices of the communities with whom we are deeply connected. We believe that the basis of U.S. immigration policy should be the protection of human rights and equal opportunity, not structures that privilege people of certain nationalities, enable employers to tap workers outside the protections of wage and safety laws, or result in the forced separation of families and communities. Humane immigration policy must include a fair mechanism for undocumented workers to gain permanent residency and citizenship in a fair, timely and orderly fashion. At the same time, it must stop the detention and deportation system that has torn apart families, and instead ensure that the human rights of liberty and due process are enforced.
Specifically we urge compassionate and effective immigration policies that are grounded in the following principles:
- Develop humane economic policies to reduce forced migration
- Protect the labor rights of ALL workers
- Develop a clear path to citizenship
- Respect the civil and human rights of immigrants
- Demilitarize the U.S.-Mexico border
- Make family reunification a top priority
- Ensure that immigrants and refugees have access to services
AFSC applauds the “Dear Colleague” letter released by Senators Leahy, Coons, Blumenthal and Hirono calling on Congress to support immigration policy reforms that respect the human and civil rights of immigrants. We agree that the current immigration system is punitive, fails to provide adequate due process protections, results in unnecessary detention in often inhumane conditions and tears families apart. We encourage the Committee to embrace this values-driven approach to reforms.