Press Room | Facebook | Twitter | DONATE

Immigration: An Introduction


From very early in the nation's history, United States immigration policy has reflected the tension between hospitality and hostility - between the desire to welcome new immigrants and the perceived need to limit immigration to protect the interests of those already here.

“The bosom of America is open to receive…the oppressed and persecuted of all nations and religions.” -George Washington, 1783

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Today, we face the enormous challenges posed by our nation's broken immigration system. Over 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the shadows of our communities across the country. Families face up to decades long backlogs in acquiring visas, workers are left without protections, children are left behind as parents are deported, and LGBT Americans cannot sponsor the visa of a spouse. We can no longer delay comprehensive reform of our immigration system based on streamlined processing, a commitment to obey the rule of law, payment of taxes owed, family reunification, and a path to citizenship.

​Comprehensive immigration reform must include:

• Reforms in our family-based immigration system to significantly reduce waiting times for separated families, who currently must wait many years to be reunited with loved ones, and to reunite all family-members including siblings, children, parents and spouses;

• Border protection policies that are consistent with American humanitarian values and effective against illegal migration, allowing the authorities to carry out the critical task of identifying and preventing entry into the United States of terrorists and dangerous criminals;

• Opportunities for hard-working immigrants who are already contributing to this country to come out of the shadows, regularize their status upon satisfaction of reasonable criteria and, over time, pursue an option to become lawful permanent residents and eventually United States citizens;

• Wage and workplace protections for those already living in America and contributing to our economy and for those who migrate here;

• Legal avenues for both high- and low-skilled professionals and their families who wish to migrate to the U.S. to enter our country and work in a safe, legal, and orderly manner that meets the needs of employers.