HUMANE IMMIGRATION REFORM
My parents were born in the Philippines. They immigrated to America during their early adult life. People from all over the world put it ALL on the line to live in America and there are many reasons why they do that. Maybe it's because their home country has no opportunity due to an oppressive government, maybe there is constant war going on, maybe crime and poverty levels are extremely high, or maybe it's just not for them. People see America as a possibility for their new home!
We are a nation of immigrants, and some of our most valued possessions came from the minds of immigrants. As Americans, we must be welcoming to those just like our parents, those that come from a past we will never fully understand, and those that just want to provide the best for themselves and their children.
For those that want to come in this country with documentation, we commend you for working hard in your current country, saving up money in order to live the American dream and become a U.S. Citizen. For the 11 million undocumented immigrants (3% of the U.S. population) who are here currently, we must allow them to come out of the shadows without fear of deportation and hefty financial penalties. Many have escaped from a country where war, crime, and poverty has overcome their homes, which we can take a part of responsibility through U.S. Imperialism, bad trade deals, and wars. We should be uniting families not separating them.
BUILDING A MOVEMENT FOR CITIZENSHIPWE recognizes that it is very difficult for immigrants, documented and undocumented, under our outdated immigration system to become a U.S. Citizen and to come out of the shadows. We recognize that change can happen only from the bottom-up, and not from the top-down. With our election into Congress, we will mobilize millions of Americans of all races, especially the Latinx and Immigrant community to fight for the change they need one election at a time. These people will elect officials who recognize the importance of comprehensive immigration reform and will seek a welcoming path to citizenship.
Full Legal Status for ALL Immigrants
- WE will push for legislation that will provide legal status for ALL immigrants who have no convictions for violent crime.
Citizenship for DREAMers
- WE will work to pass a modern day DREAM Act which would allow undocumented immigrants who came into the United States before the age of 16 an expeditious pathway to citizenship as long as he or she has not committed any violent crimes. In addition, we will work to expand educational benefits such as receiving financial aid, be eligible for in-state tuition rates, and giving them the ability to serve in the military.
Healthcare for ALL Immigrants
- WE will fight for undocumented immigrants to receive adequate health care through Medicare for ALL. In the near term, we will support expansion of Medicaid to cover undocumented immigrants. There are many stories of people who have passed away or struggled to receive the healthcare they need because they could not receive any healthcare do to their undocumented status.
Right to Counsel
- WE will work with Congress to fight for Undocumented Immigrants to have Legal Representation, especially for children who currently have to represent themselves in front of a judge in immigration hearings. It does not make sense to have trial and not have legal representation especially if you are not familiar with the law. It is very sad to know that there are 10 or 12 years who have to defend themselves in front of a judge against getting deported.
- WE will protect all workers regardless of immigration status who report employers who exploit them by making them work in unsafe work conditions that violate health codes or safety codes. We will fight for undocumented workers who get threatened with no pay, overtime, or wages withheld due to threat of being deported. Currently, many undocumented do not file any complaints in fear of being deported, it's time to change that.
End for-profit Detention Centers
- WE will work with Congress to end for-profit detention centers whose main goal it is to increase their bottom line at the expense of separating families and deporting undocumented immigrants. In addition, we will fight to ensure that if they are released for non-violent crimes that they don't get deported the minute they get out of jail.
Lessen the Burden of Proof for Asylum Seekers
- WE will protect immigrants, especially children, who flee their home country because they are victims of domestic violence and criminal gang activity or war. Currently, it’s not good enough to tell or convince the government that if you get sent back to a war torn country like Honduras, you might die unless you prove that people want to kill you because of your race, political identity, etc. Children are saying if "I go back, I’m going to get killed by gangs", however, our government says “you can’t prove that”. Children should NOT have to prove that. We should lower the burden of proof so that children and families can keep their life.
Ensure Immigration Courts are Sufficiently Staffed and Funded
- WE will fight to ensure that immigrants are given a sufficient amount of time to defend themselves in immigration hearings. Currently, judges can decide immigrants’ fate, including children and families, in 7 minutes without sufficiently reviewing all the evidence and circumstances. 7 minutes can decide a family's future, that is unfair.
End the 3 to 10 Year Bar
- WE will fight to end the 3 to 10-year bar on undocumented immigrants who leave the United States to apply for a Visa from their own home countries and try to come back to America for a better life. What we're seeing are people going back to their home country to obtain their Visa but getting denied and up getting stuck in their country 3 - 10 years. A majority of undocumented immigrants won’t do it and will live here in the shadows.
Ideally, our aim for the future is that what really matters is not so much whether you’re documented or undocumented but rather what are your connections to the community. Do you have family, are you working, are you contributing to society and the community you live in? If so, you should be allowed to stay based on your merit and contributions to the those in the community you live in. We want a system that encourages people to take the right steps. We want it so people can come here the correct way, but it’s not that way right now. Members of Congress decide what's "right" and what's "wrong", and it's only "right" or "wrong" because elected officials made it that way.