CHN to Senate: Vote for a Narrow Solution for the Dreamers; Oppose Harsh Restrictions


February 15, 2018

Editor’s note: CHN Executive Director Deborah Weinstein sent the following letter today to all Senators in advance of their votes on various immigration proposals:
“The national organizations making up the Coalition on Human Needs urge you to enact legislation narrowly drawn to protect the Dreamers, those people brought to this country as children and who are an integral part of our communities now. Our members, including faith organizations, human service providers, civil rights, labor, policy expert and other advocacy groups join with the majority of Americans in strongly supporting legal status and a path to citizenship for the Dreamers. You can move the Senate towards achieving this long-overdue goal – but not if you hold the Dreamers hostage to an agenda of sweeping and restrictive changes to immigration policy.

“We understand that bipartisan compromise is necessary. The McCain-Coons amendment represents such a compromise, including border security provisions and a coordinated approach to address problems in Central America that lead individuals to flee violence and gang activity. We urge you to vote for McCain-Coons.

“We strongly urge you to vote no on Senator Toomey’s Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act. This amendment should not be considered during an effort to protect the Dreamers from loss of legal status. Local communities should not be undermined in their efforts to foster trust between police and residents. Immigration enforcement is the proper role for federal authorities, and they have the legal authority they need to do their job. No state or locality has or could adopt policies to stop ICE from carrying out federal immigration laws. Funds needed for community-wide housing, economic development and other services should not be held up if states or localities will not agree to cede their autonomy in policing policies.

“We also urge you to vote no on Senator Grassley’s Secure and Succeed Act amendment. This is an over-broad bill that would harshly restrict current legal immigration policies, preventing parents, adult children and siblings from reuniting with their families residing here. The amendment also would end the Diversity Visa Immigrant Program, which would have the effect of denying a legal immigration route to immigrants from Latin America, Africa and Asia whose talents and expertise are benefiting our nation. We also oppose its provisions to curtail due process protections by allowing mandatory detention for many thousands and summary deportation of millions of people. Such draconian restrictions would hurt our economy and our democracy.

“Your decisions this week are all-important. You can vote for relatively narrow legislation that offers a solution for the Dreamers and incorporates border security measures. Or you can attempt to graft far-reaching and damaging restrictions affecting millions of people onto narrower Dreamer protections. The latter path will fail on all counts.  Voting for a narrower solution for the Dreamers can accomplish something important. Please take the positive step afforded by McCain-Coons.”