Earlier this week, President Barack Obama delivered remarks in Las Vegas about creating a fair and effective immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long." President Obama said. "I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity. Now is the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country’s future."
President Obama's proposal for immigration reform has four parts. First, continue to strengthen our borders. Second, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers. Third, hold undocumented immigrants accountable before they can earn their citizenship; this means requiring undocumented workers to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and pass background checks. Fourth, streamline the legal immigration system for families, workers, and employers.
In response to the President’s proposal, a number of organizations that advocate for LGBT rights issued statements praising the President’s leadership and calling for comprehensive immigration reform. Here are some of their words:
“LGBT families are elated to have the President’s support for an immigration reform bill that includes our families. When the President leads, Congress and the American people join him to stand for equality. From the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ to marriage equality, the President’s leadership has been effective, and critical, in winning real change for real families. As Congress moves forward in crafting legislation to fix our broken immigration system, we look forward to working with the President and our allies on Capitol Hill to pass a bill that ends the discrimination LGBT families face, provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people – gay and straight – and quickly integrates young people whose dream is to be fully, legally American.”
“President Obama continues to demonstrate his tremendous leadership on behalf of our community by recognizing that fixing our nation’s flawed immigration system must include relief for these loving, committed couples and their families. In addition, by establishing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including children brought into this country by their parents, the President’s plan will help millions of individuals at our nation’s margins.”
“President Obama today put forth a vision of immigration reform that is inclusive. Today, there are 11 million undocumented immigrants, including hundreds of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are forced to live in the shadows of society. Creating a clear pathway to citizenship will ensure better and brighter futures not just for them, but for our entire country. America wouldn’t be what it is today without the grit, guts, ingenuity, creativity and work ethic of millions of immigrants who have come to this country with a dream. These dreams built and have sustained America — from science and industry, to agriculture and domestic work, to commerce and innovation. The American dream dies when the dreamers are shut out.”
“Immigration is fundamentally a family issue. The President has demonstrated time and again that he has the best interest of families with LGBT parents at heart, and our inclusion in his plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform further demonstrates his commitment to us. We will stand with him every step of the way to make sure we are protecting families with parents who are immigrants, and we look forward to working with the White House and Congress to get this done. ”
"It is clear that after long suffering we may finally see true progress on meaningful immigration reform. In a historic speech today, President Obama made clear that he supports an accessible and straightforward path to citizenship, recognition of ALL families and a process for keeping those families together, including same-sex couples and families headed by LGBT parents, and citizenship for DREAMers. This is what we must see. As the process continues, we are committed to assuring that reforms truly provide the dignity, recognition, and fairness the President suggested. We need a plan animated by humanity, not punishment."
“On behalf of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, we congratulate President Barack Obama on his proposed plan to reform immigration policy, which includes provisions for both business owners and for LGBT bi-national couples. The NGLCC understands that the United States is a nation of entrepreneurs, and the health and strength of our economy depends on opening greenfield opportunities for innovators looking to start and sustain businesses within our borders. We call on Congress to work with President Obama and move forward meaningful reform to establish an efficient path to citizenship for all people, including LGBT bi-national families.”
“We are pleased that the experiences of LGBT families are being addressed by the President's plan for comprehensive immigration reform, presented today. The plan includes critically important protections needed by millions of hardworking Americans. Those who dismiss the needs of LGBT families and suggest that we can only protect some people but not all are not being true to deeply held American values of fairness.”