Pathways to Citizenship
America is a nation of immigrants and New York its melting pot. Nearly half of American citizens have ancestors that came through Ellis Island. Three of my great grandparents passed through Ellis Island on their way to a better life in New York. Our shared identity as a society stems from the contributions of immigrants like them. Towards the end of the 19th century , waves of new immigrants, including Irish, Italians, Jews , Hispanics, and Asians, fueled the economic and cultural engine that powered us into the nation we are today. In that same spirit, I want to continue encouraging legal immigration to our nation. However, we should endeavor to recognize contributions made by those who have remained in the shadows for decades.
According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants were residing in the United States in 2015; of this, 800,000 are children, whose status would have been legalized through the bi-partisan DREAM Act (2001) had it not been allowed to languish in Congress. Today, many of these children, called “Dreamers,” have gotten college educations or served in the military. Still, more have established families and had children of their own, who themselves are American citizens. We owe it to Dreamers and their families to create a clear pathway to citizenship, so we aren’t needlessly splitting families across borders.
As your Congressman, I will work with my colleagues to secure passage of the Dream Act of 2017, and to create a guest worker program that allows otherwise law-abiding unauthorized immigrants a pathway to legal immigration after a definite period. Further, I will seek to develop a new, points-based immigration scheme to attract talent and curb abuse by those seeking to import cheap, unskilled labor. Lastly, I will advocate that the president lift the ceiling on refugees fleeing from war-ravaged nations. Extinguishing Lady Liberty’s lamp is not a solution, so I will champion all who strive for a better life.