Our local coalition recently joined the South Carolina Immigration Coalition in urging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham to continue his renewed interest in pursuing comprehensive immigration reform that respects constitutional guarantees of fairness and equal treatment for all.
In a letter sent Jan. 2, the state coalition of community leaders, faith, civil and human rights organizations called on the senator to lead this reform effort in the Senate, which will include a clear road map to citizenship. A reform bill must also affirm the DREAM Act and enable recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to automatically qualify for legalization.
Finally, comprehensive reform must end enforcement practices that have been widely criticized for promoting racial profiling. Recent information indicates that in 2012 the federal government spent more money on immigration enforcement than on all federal criminal law enforcement agencies combined (that includes the FBI, the U.S. Marshall's Service, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).
It is good news that leaders from both major political parties appear to agree that immigration reform is a top priority and that we cannot fix our broken immigration system by locking up people for minor offenses or trying to force millions of people out of the country.
The South Carolina Immigration Coalition pledges to work with Graham to enact legislation that keeps families together, stimulates the economy with increased collection of taxes and yet protects America's security.
George Kanuck, co-chairman
Lowcountry Immigration Coalition