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|Lancaster, Chester, Berks Counties, PA||April 22, 2008 Election|
By Bruce A. SlaterCandidate for US Representative; District 16; Democratic Party
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If immigration is a problem today, it is because the federal government has failed to enforce existing immigration laws. Unfettered and unregulated immigration has created gross inequities and has hampered local and state governments' ability to serve existing and new populations.Immigration Reform
The United States of America is a Nation of Nations. All of us, including native-Americans, can trace our ancestry to individuals who immigrated to this great land.
If immigration is a problem today, it is because the federal government has failed to enforce existing immigration laws. Unfettered and unregulated immigration has created gross inequities and has hampered local and state governments' ability to serve existing and new populations.
Changes in immigration law and policy must be implemented in ways that are both fair to new Americans and equitable to all Americans.
Working towards a rational immigration policy....
1. Border Control.
Establishing control of our borders is essential. The federal government has not expended the money or human resources needed to secure our borders. It has failed to address the economic disruptions of unfettered illegal entry into the country.
We must combat the smuggling of undocumented workers into this county. The focus for this effort must be here in the United States and within the country of origin of those coming here.
Immigration reform and control of our borders are a single issue. Without secure borders, we cannot regulate immigration in an orderly manner. Without immigration reform, our borders will never be secure.
The best way to prevent illegal entry into the country is to stop it at the borders. Individuals who attempt to enter the country illegally should be returned to their country of origin. However, they should also be given assistance in obtaining the legal documentation necessary if they wish to work here.
We must enforce current law that regulates businesses that use foreign workers. We must prosecute those employers who knowingly accept false and illegal documents for their employees. We must not penalize businesses who, in good faith, have transported and hired workers under a federal system that is backlogged and which has blatantly ignored the enforcement of existing laws and regulations.
We must properly fund and expand human resources in agencies of the government which are responsible for enforcing immigration law.
The processing of documentation for passports, temporary guest worker or "employment" visas must be expedited for reasons of national security, for businesses who need workers, and for individuals who wish to enter this country to work.
It is imperative to substantiate every undocumented individual currently residing in this country illegally. This should be done without reprisal, penalty or deportation. Once undocumented individuals are in the system, they can be tracked and can be helped to maintain his or her legal status.
Punishment is not the answer....Efficient markets and fair labor practices have to be the focus.
4. Economic Security
Unfettered illegal immigration has endangered the economic security of many American workers. It has drained the resources of many local and state governments and threatens the standard of living for citizens and non-citizens alike.
We must stop the replacement of low- and middle-income citizen workers by illegal, undocumented workers, many of whom are often abused by the businesses that recruit them.
By failing, or refusing, to enforce our immigration laws, we have created a slave-class work force by permitting the exploitation of undocumented workers by individuals and corporations. Andwe have disrupted and diminished the economic security of many low- and middle-income workers who have played by the rules
We have a moral obligation to protect citizen-workers from unfair labor practices. We have a human obligation to protect undocumented workers from abusive business practices that strip them of their human rights and their economic dreams.
Honoring the legacy of "Liberty"
Engraved on a tablet within the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands are these Emma Lazarus words,
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore . . . . I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The vast majority of illegal immigrants believe these words. And we, citizens of this great country, cannot deny these words. It is the promise of these words that makes us what we are.
Deporting eleven and a half million illegal immigrants would do irreparable damage to our economy. But more than that, it would do irreparable damage to our very soul.
The Bush administration and do-nothing legislators like Representative Pitts have allowed this issue to escalate into a crisis.
It is time to change the political culture of this Congressional District by electing a candidate who believes in equity and inclusion. We need to elect someone who has the will to solve the problems.
We can solve this problem in a manner that respects the traditions of our ancestors, deals with those who are here without documentation in a humane manner, and preserves economic security for the American worker and new Americans.
Bruce Slater, Candidate for Congress, 16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania
Position Paper 2
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