Maine Advocacy Groups Respond to Immigration Reform Bill

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
April 18, 2013 11:14 am

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Gang of 8 Proposal Important First Step, Needs Improvement

April 18, 2013

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Portland – Following the release of the proposed federal immigration reform bill, the ACLU of Maine and the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) said the bill touched on many areas of interest and that they would be monitoring it closely. The groups heralded the inclusion of a “pathway to citizenship” as a breakthrough achievement.

“The inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people living in and contributing to the United States, including many here in Maine, is an historic advance. It is long past time for our immigration system to bring these individuals within the legal embrace of citizenship and the protections promised by the Constitution,” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “The bill as drafted does raise some red flags, such as the possibility of an intrusive employment verification system and increased criminal penalties that would contribute to our nation’s already-bloated criminal justice system. We will fight to ensure that reform leads to a fair system that upholds civil liberties.”

“ILAP is encouraged by the introduction of this bipartisan immigration reform proposal. Modernizing our immigration laws will have a significant impact on us here in Maine. With an aging population in our state, immigrants will be a key to the future of our community and our economy,” said Sue Roche, legal director of ILAP. “We need to have immigration laws that allow families to stay together, that allow employers to hire workers that they need, and that provide a fair and efficient process for refugees and asylees seeking protection in our country. We recognize that this is a compromise bill and there are some provisions that are of concern to us, in particular some that will affect families in Maine. We will continue to watch the bill as it goes through the legislative process, and we intend to advocate on those issues.”

The groups will monitor the bill as it moves forward, and call on Maine’s congressional delegation to work to make sure the final proposal creates a just and fair immigration system.

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