Members of Congress from the San Francisco Bay Area embraced President Obama’s call Tuesday for an overhaul of U.S. immigration policies.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, applauded Obama for demanding “firm and swift action” on immigration. In a speech in Las Vegas, Obama endorsed an immigration reform outline presented by eight U.S. senators. Their plan includes creating a “pathway to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, beefing up border security and stiffening punishment of businesses that employ undocumented workers.
“Now, we simply need the will and the courage to act,” Pelosi said. “Let’s work together to honor our values, respect our nation’s immigrants, and pass legislation that makes America more American.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, a San Jose Democrat, chairs the immigration task force of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. On Facebook, Honda congratulated Obama for his “extraordinary leadership” in pressing for immigration reform.
“I offer my utmost gratitude to President Obama for calling for the reunification of all families, regardless of sexual orientation, and the elimination of discrimination in immigration law against same-sex partners,” Honda said. “We must never forget the teachings and words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”
Honda added: “We must never cease to protect the rights, visibility and equal treatment of the most vulnerable among us. Our nation will be made stronger through reform that is comprehensive and inclusive, humane and just.”
U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a San Jose Democrat, is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. She also is a former immigration attorney. Lofgren said federal lawmakers “have an historic opportunity to fix the nation’s broken immigration system from top to bottom in a bipartisan fashion so it works for families and our economy.”
“Immigration forged our country into the great nation that we are today, and now more than ever it will be key to driving the United States forward in this new century,” she added.
U.S. Rep. George Miller, a Martinez Democrat, said that for comprehensive immigration reform to succeed, “it must strengthen our borders, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers or abuse guest worker programs, provide a fair and honest path to citizenship for millions of immigrants, and streamline our legal immigration system to attract the best minds to America, rather than ceding their skills to other countries.”
U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, a Carmel Democrat, called the immigration reform proposal “tough, fair and practical.”
“The American dream historically promised to immigrants has been denied to an entire generation. Congress must act now to pass comprehensive immigration reform to fix our broken system and bring 11 million people out of the shadows,” Farr said.