As Congress and the Administration consider proposals for comprehensive immigration reform, the member organizations of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda ask for serious consideration of the following policy recommendations, which were part of NHLA’s quadrennial Hispanic Public Policy Agenda, released in August 2012 and available here
Of the 52 million Hispanics on the United States mainland, 38 percent are foreign-born. Federal immigration law and policy, therefore, continues to be a major concern of the Latino community. Our immigration, asylum, and naturalization must respect the dignity of the individual and reflect our nation’s commitment to human and civil rights and deny state and local encroachment into this federal arena.
While immigration from Latin America has declined in recent years, anti-immigrant fervor has incongruously increased. Draconian anti-immigrant measures have been enacted in several states, most notoriously Arizona and Alabama. However, the Supreme Court’s latest immigration ruling from June 2012, in Arizona v. United States, reaffirms longstanding law on exclusive federal authority in the area of immigration regulation. The high court unequivocally stated that “The Government of the United States has broad, undoubted power of the subject of immigration and the status of aliens,” when it held frustrated states and localities cannot pursue policies that undermine federal law and enforcement. This development does not negate the need for a comprehensive approach to immigration reform that better serves the national interest by offering undocumented immigrants an earned path to legalization and then citizenship.