Talking Immigration Issues Today: Due Process and Basic Rights

// Published: 2013
Upholding Our Values A Commonsense Approach Moving Forward Together
Most audiences believe that protecting basic rights like due process in the legal system are central to preserving and upholding American values of security, fair treatment, and freedom from government persecution. This embrace of due process as integral to our nation’s identity is an opportunity to tell a story of American values in peril, and to make the case for how to protect and restore them through a commonsense approach to our immigration policies. Most voters want enforcement that both  upholds our values (protecting due process,
rejecting racial profiling, ensuring a border free of human rights violations) and is practical. While cuts are made in military and education budgets, Americans do not favor costly increases in enforcement and border security. In addition, many respond to the argument that focusing on federal policy reform will alleviate many of the pressures that the border currently faces.
We should emphasize our shared interests and discredit “us vs. them” distinctions, and talk about how protecting basic rights is part of our American identity and matters to us all. Because we’re all connected, bad policies hurt us all – threatening our values and disrupting our communities.
Due process is a human right central to the American justice system. American values of justice and fairness only stand strong when we uphold the right to due process.

Due process – access to courts and lawyers and a basic set of rules for how we’re all treated in the justice system – is a human right and central to our country’s values. We should reject any policies that deny due process for undocumented immigrants or anyone else. Our American values of justice and fairness only stand strong when we have one system of justice for everyone. If one group can be denied due process, none of us will be safe to enjoy the rights that America stands for.

America is a nation of values, founded on an idea: that all men and women are created equal. We hold these truths to be self-­‐evident: that all people have rights, no matter what they look like or where they came from. So how we treat new immigrants reflects our commitment to the values that define us as Americans. We need a commonsense immigration process, one that includes a roadmap for people who aspire to be citizens.

When it comes to our outdated immigration laws, we need real solutions that embrace fairness, equal treatment, and due process. Current laws are badly broken, but disregarding our values is not the answer to fixing them. Tell Congress it’s possible-­‐-­‐and imperative-­‐-­‐to both modernize our immigration laws and protect our core values at the same time.

America deserves a commonsense immigration process that creates a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million new Americans who aspire to be citizens. Legislation must also keep families together here in this country, protect all workers, and honor and preserve our longstanding constitutional promise of equal treatment for all.

The roadmap to citizenship must not be so expensive and onerous that it leaves millions in limbo for lengthy periods of time, subject to an ever moving metric of “border security.” We need a fair system that creates a reasonable immigration process for New Americans.

A roadmap to citizenship is imperative, but must not be done at the expense of border communities, who have endured years of border security “enhancements,” including more agents, drones, military presence and walls.

We need commonsense immigration policies, not an escalation of border militarization, more detention and arrests, and policies that promote racial profiling – a harmful and ineffective practice based on stereotypes. We need border security that involves and enlists border communities in providing for safe borders in ways that respect their human rights and constitutional rights and treat everyone fairly.

For too long, our immigration policies have moved into the realm of criminalization – needlessly imprisoning people in the for-­‐profit prison industry. We need to step back and think about what our immigration policies should do for us: create a reasonable process for immigrants to come here, keep families together, and respect human rights.

We are a country that values due process, fair treatment under the law, and a commonsense approach to the issues facing our communities. Our immigration policies must reflect those values. If we allow anyone’s due process rights to be violated, if we detain anyone indefinitely and without representation, if we give into rash, unworkable policies – we all lose.

We are all better off when our communities are healthy and strong, we feel safe, and our children can thrive. As women and mothers, we know the importance of working to build strong communities and families, and being good neighbors who help each other. As Americans, we all do our part to contribute, and we’re all the better for having hardworking new immigrants as members of our communities [by being customers in our stores, giving to local churches and charities, and participating as parents in our schools]. That’s why we need an immigration process that strengthens, not divides, our communities.

We need our immigration policies to uphold our values and move us forward together. When they result in splitting up families, imprisoning people, deporting those who have lived here for years and are part of the fabric of our communities, they are not serving any of us. We live in a democracy. That means we have the power and responsibility to change laws that don’t work.

As Americans, we’re all in it together, and we’re stronger when we focus on what unites us rather than our differences. Our immigration policies must reflect those values. That’s why any immigration proposal should insist on fair rules for all American workers and families, and include a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring citizens who want to share in the American Dream.

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