Comprehensive Immigration Reform Can’t Wait

Cruel immigration tactics, like Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy which is resulting in family separations and trauma for thousands of migrant children, are contrary to the values we stand for as Americans and ensure that we will never live up to our full potential. We can’t build a 21st century economy that gives everyone a fair shot at success if we’re implementing immigration policies from the 1920’s.

Now is the time we must decide who we are as a country: do we welcome immigrants with open arms, or do we turn away or break up the families that contribute so greatly to America? Yes, we need to have clear rules. But I believe that we are a nation that welcomes immigrants.

That’s why I believe that it’s time to abolish ICE. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has only existed since 2003 -- it’s a relatively new agency which is absorbing federal resources in order to break up families and terrorize communities across the U.S.

I believe we are a stronger country when we embrace the diversity that made America great in the first place. It’s time we live up to our values, and abolishing ICE should be just one part of the comprehensive immigration reform that we desperately need. ­

It is long overdue that our government offer the millions of families living in the shadows a fair pathway to full citizenship—anything less flies in the face of common sense and human decency – and it is long overdue that we offer a permanent solution to Dreamers, to TPS recipients, and to their families. The time for temporary fixes has passed, in the face of the Trump Administration’s cruel policies, we must act to protect the lives and livelihoods of our immigrant neighbors.

This will mean safer communities here at home and will serve as a significant boost to our national economy. Consider that between 2014 and 2016, communities like Miami with a higher rate of immigrants accounted for two-thirds of the new jobs created across the U.S.

No more broken families: any comprehensive immigration reform must keep families together. That means an end to the current “zero tolerance” policy that’s leading to family separations at the border. Trump’s executive order ends separations in name – but doesn’t provide a pathway to reunite families or an end to the policies that resulted in family separations in the first place. Furthermore, it leaves the door open to family detention.

Immigration enforcement should focus its resources on detaining and deporting only those who pose a violent threat to our communities. Family detentions must be brought to an end and all private detention centers must be shut down.

America has always been a beacon of hope for millions around the world—an opportunity to work hard and offer your children a brighter future. We need comprehensive immigration reform that will recognize the value immigrants offer our country and protect the hardworking families who contribute so greatly to the fabric of our communities.

Let’s reject the politics of fear and extend the American dream to more—not fewer—families.