For generations, the United States has served as a beacon of freedom and hope for people around the world, a society whose moral, economic, and cultural fabric depends, and has always depended, on immigrants.
In the words of President Ronald Reagan: “They brought with them courage, ambition, and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace, and freedom. We all came from different lands, but we share the same values, the same dream.”
Unfortunately, our migration and refugee policies have failed to meet the needs and reflect the ideals of our nation, especially in recent years. Our broken immigration system threatens to erode our competitive advantage in industries of the future, from artificial intelligence to green energy to bioengineering. Net migration to the United States dropped significantly between 2016 and 2021, with only a slight rebound in 2022. U.S. humanitarian leadership abroad has been undermined by unprecedented restrictions on the rights for migrants to claim asylum, patchwork responses to immigration on the U.S.-Mexico border, a failure to support our Afghan partners stuck in legal limbo, and a gutting of our refugee resettlement program that began in 2018 and has yet to be fully addressed. While the nation has moved away from some of its most inhumane border measures, like family separations, too many political leaders push unrealistic and inflammatory immigration policies, like using lethal military force at our borders, which end up sowing division, fostering xenophobia, and stymieing diplomatic efforts to address the underlying causes of migration from Central America.
The belief in America as a welcoming nation for immigrants is tied to our belief in the American Dream—where immigrants with dreams for a better future can work hard enough and dream big enough to make it here. And while we have never fully lived up to that idea, one area where we’re had remarkable bipartisan cooperation over the last half century is in our commitment to resettling refugees.— Senator Alex Padilla Hear this quote in context
It is long past time for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform to meet the needs of our multicultural nation and restore America’s legacy of welcoming individuals seeking a better way of life. You can contact your members of Congress to urge them to pass an immigration law that strengthens our asylum system, expands legal pathways for migration, and protects the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. You can also call on your elected representatives to fulfill our promises to our Afghan allies by passing legislation like the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would provide more pathways to permanent resident status and expand the eligibility for Special Immigrant Visas.