Argument: General statements in favor of a path to citizenship

Issue Report: Path to citizenship for illegal immigrants in the US


Michele Waslin, PhD, Director of Immigration Policy Research at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), in a Dec. 2004 NCLR website section titled “Immigration Reform: Comprehensive Solutions for Complex Problems”: “Rather than maintaining the existing chaotic, poorly functioning, unfair system, it is critical to create a reformed immigration system that is safe, orderly, and fair. Perhaps most importantly, the U.S. immigration system should be one that encourages and allows for immigration to be legal. Immigrants currently living undocumented in the U.S. should be allowed to earn their legal status; future flows of immigrants should have channels to migrate legally; and those families who are playing by the rules and attempting to enter lawfully must be allowed to do so in a reasonable time frame.”[1]

The Center for American Progress, in a Nov. 30, 2007 section titled “Principles for Immigration Reform”: “Creating a modern immigration system is an undoubtedly complex task. It requires achieving the right balance between enforcement, at our borders and at worksites, and establishing mechanisms for bringing the estimated 12 million undocumented in our midst out of the shadows to be full, contributing members of our society, and creating the means for regulating the flow of immigrants into the country. Simplistic recipes for dealing with the challenges are not real solutions even if they appear to resonate in the current environment of fear and insecurity.”[2]

Steve Forbes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Forbes and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine, in a July 10, 2006 Wall Street Journal editorial titled “Enforcement Isn’t Enough,” wrote: “…Well, immigration –both the robust annual flow required to keep our economy growing and the 12 million illegal immigrants already in the country– is a fact of life in the U.S. today. And the only practical way to deal with these stubborn realities is with a comprehensive solution, one that includes border security, interior enforcement, a guest worker program and [legal] status for the illegal immigrants already here.”[3]

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), in a Nov. 21, 2007 email to “…Our broken immigration system is like an economic superhighway where the speed limit is set at 30 mph. We need to reset the speed limit by creating legal channels for new workers, eliminate family immigration backlogs which undermine our legal immigration system, and create a path to citizenship for those who are here, working and paying taxes… NCLR supports comprehensive immigration reform that includes the following principles: 1) enforcement that is conducted sensibly, effectively, in a manner consistent with our nation’s laws and values; 2) a path to citizenship for the current undocumented population; 3) the creation of new legal channels for future immigrant workers; 4) a reduction of family immigration backlogs; and 5) the protection of civil rights and civil liberties.”[4]

Silvestre Reyes, US Representative (D-TX), in a Nov. 28, 2005 section from his official website titled “Reyes Responds to President Bush’s Immigration Initiatives”: “Reform of our nation’s borders and immigration system must include three components: border security, enforcement of employer sanctions, and a guestworker program with an avenue to earned legalization. Without each of these necessary provisions, reform efforts will fall short of the true changes our nation has long needed.”[5]

Ricardo Parra, former Executive Director of the Midwest Council of La Raza at the University of Notre Dame, in an Aug. 29, 2006 prepared statement to the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Hearing on Immigration titled “The Reid-Kennedy Bill: The Effect on American Workers’ Wages and Employment Opportunities”:
“Border security must fit within a process of comprehensive reform (i.e. interior and employer enforcement, legalization, and guest workers); enforcement only is insufficient… The House should reshape its legislation to provide true immigration reform along the lines of bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform recommended by the Senate. It addresses border security and enforcement, a smart and efficient immigration system, earned legalization for undocumented immigrants who qualify and a guest-worker program to meet the economic needs of the U.S… A path to legal status for the current undocumented population is integral to enhance national security.”[6]

John Kerry, JD, US Senator (D-MA) and 2004 presidential candidate, in a Sep. 4, 2003 Democratic primary debate in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in response to the question “Would you support legalizing undocumented immigrants in this country?”: “Absolutely. I supported and was prepared to vote for amnesty from 1986. And it is essential to have immigration reform. Anyone who has been in this country for five or six years, who’s paid their taxes, who has stayed out of trouble, ought to be able to translate into an American citizenship immediately, not waiting.”[7]

Tom Head, Civil Liberties Guide at, in an – Civil Liberties section article titled “Why I Support Amnesty for Undocumented Immigrants,” (accessed Oct. 3, 2007), wrote: “Amnesty, combined with serious penalties for employers that hire undocumented workers in the future, is the only real way out of the situation we’re currently in. It is the most decent option we have, and it is also the option most likely to secure the border and end the system of undocumented worker exploitation–which is precisely why our well-funded leaders in Washington have no intention of pursuing it.”[8]