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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force, chaired by Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez of California has announced CHC’s Immigration Principles for the 116th Congress.

On family unity the CHC says no family should be torn apart by border patrol agents at the border nor by an antiquated immigration system that leaves family members waiting for decades to reunify with loved ones. It says re-entry bars unnecessarily keep families separated and should be eliminated.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus was founded in December 1976. It is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.

“The United States is and has always been a nation of immigrants. Unfortunately, our broken immigration system puts the American dream out of reach for many who seek a better life in our country. We need comprehensive immigration reform that fixes our broken system and deals humanely with the undocumented immigrants already in America,” said Rep. Sánchez, a former chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. 

“Achieving these goals we have laid out today will not be easy, but like our community, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is not afraid of working hard. We are committed to working in a spirit of cooperation to reform our country’s broken immigration system and give deserving people a chance to become equal members of our society.”

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, Texas, chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, with 38 members strong, will focus on creating equal opportunities for all Americans while pushing back against the Trump Administration’s racist and xenophobic policies that target immigrants and Hispanic families,” Castro said.

“Today, I’m proud to join my colleagues in unveiling our Immigration Principles, which help outline our immigration agenda as we work to pass comprehensive immigration reform in order to ensure we have a fair and just immigration system that provides all those who come to our nation a chance to succeed. This Congress, we will continue our work to reunify separated families, protect Dreamers and TPS recipients, and pass legislation to fix our outdated and broken immigration system. Together, we can ensure the rights and dignity of all immigrants who come to our nation, and stay true to the values established by our Founding Fathers.”

In addition to Sánchez and Castro, the Immigration Task Force also includes Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New Yorkl, Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Rep. Juan Vargas of California, Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York, Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso, Texas, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico. Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Houston, Texas, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia of Illinois, Rep. Gregorio Sablan, a delegate of the Northern Mariana Islands, Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Rep. Lou Correa of California.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Immigration Task Force’s Immigration Principles are as follows:

  1. Family Unity/Reunification: No family should be torn apart by border patrol agents at the border nor by our antiquated immigration system that leaves family members waiting for decades to reunify with loved ones. Re-entry bars unnecessarily keep families separated and should be eliminated.
  2. Dreamers: Dreamers should be afforded a timely path to citizenship after meeting fair requirements set forth by the United States Congress and their parents should be given an opportunity to access legal permanent status.
  3. TPS/DED: Recipients of Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure, the majority of whom have been living legally in the United States for decades, deserve a permanent solution to stay in this country.
  4. Smart Border Security: Border walls are a medieval solution to a modern-day problem and should not be erected. There are more effective ways to combat drugs, contraband, and human trafficking at ports of entry.
  5. Oversight of ICE and CBP: There should not be an increase in immigrant detention beds. There should be stricter oversight on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s and Customs and Border Patrol’s budget and operations.
  6. Due Process: There must be meaningful due process and accessible legal counsel for all immigrants, as well as, a path to bring home deported veterans. Immigration courts need to be independent from the Department of Justice. Humane Treatment of Immigrants: Immigration detention centers and other facilities that house these vulnerable communities should no longer be operated by for-profit corporations or nonprofits with a history of abuse, the number of detention beds must decrease, and community-based alternatives to detention must be expanded at all levels.
  7. New Americans: Resources should be available for individuals attempting to legally enter and stay in this country including reasonable costs and expeditious processing of naturalization and other applications to obtain legal status.
  8. Inclusive Comprehensive Reform: Any comprehensive immigration reform package should take into account immigrants in our commonwealths and territories.
  9. Transparency: There must be more transparency, oversight, and accountability of the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services. Standards for immigrant detainees must be established that include access to health services, physical activity, and basic necessities including water and food.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez of California.

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