President Obama urged swift action on comprehensive immigration reform during a speech he delivered in January.

In January President Obama called for a swift path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, saying “now is the time” for comprehensive immigration reform.  His sense of urgency is welcome.

NYLAG has worked with immigrants of every status for almost 20 years, battling the complexity, capriciousness, and inequities of our immigration policies. Within the next several weeks our immigration attorneys will unveil a position paper outlining the specific steps, some never before proposed, that can usher in a new era of comprehensive immigration reform.

Our recommendations are built on the following unifying principles:

  • Immigrant families need to be together, and they need to be together now, not in eight years, or ten, or more, because human life is not unending.
  • We must banish the “back of the line” concept, which is both ambiguous and ignores the reality of human life expectancy.
  • Don’t create second class status for lawful permanent residents: ensure that permanent residency leads to citizenship.
  • Any new law must not make legalization conditional on unreasonable requirements that exclude, discriminate or create insurmountable obstacles for undocumented immigrants.
  • As long as national security and justice for the undocumented immigrants are paired, immigration reform will not proceed.
  • Due process and equal protection, pillars of our justice system, must be afforded to everyone living in this country, documented or undocumented.

Now is the time for America to create an immigration system that promotes unity and dignity for immigrant families that have suffered enough under the current broken system. A system that victimizes the innocent, breaks apart families, and keeps millions of hardworking people living in the shadows.  A system that fails our business interests, holds back our economy, and shames us in the eyes of other nations, and in our own.

Blog Post by Yisroel Schulman
President & Attorney-in-Charge