Immigration Reform and the State of the Union


This year’s State of the Union address once again acknowledges that immigration reform remains a top priority for the nation.

“… what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, proofed belief in opportunity for all —the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.” – President Obama


The following is a statement from Patricia Diaz, Executive Director at Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN):

“Last night, President Barack Obama discussed the need to create jobs and greater opportunity for all during his fifth State of the Union address. In a brief but powerful reference, he reaffirmed his support for fixing our broken immigration system  and made it clear that immigration reform and economic recovery go hand-in-hand. And, although he stopped short of outlining a specific plan to push reform forward or using his authority to stop deportations, he correctly recognized that it’s up to House leadership to act.

“We are inspired by President Obama’s words about opportunity for they apply to the everyday experiences of our immigrant communities. Immigrants often take enormous risks to come here and work hard for the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families. Immigrants grow our economy and strengthen the cultural fabric of our country. In Santa Clara County, immigrants are part of our economic backbone toiling in the fields, driving the tech sector, and working in service industries – without immigrants, our region wouldn’t continue to be the model for others that it is today.

“As we struggle with efforts to create a more just and equal system in which everyone has a fair shot at economic prosperity, we cannot forget the role a fair and just immigration system would play. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficit by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. Immigration reform therefore is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing too.

“If 2014 is to truly be the year of action and opportunity, we encourage the President not only to support efforts to reach immigration reform, but to take action while we wait for House leadership to act. The President reiterated that he is prepared to use his executive authority to push a federal minimum wage increase to improve our economy, but we also need him to do all in his power to end the needless costs —to families, to workers, and to the economy—of an immigration system that does not fulfill the promise of America. In Santa Clara County, over 170,000 undocumented immigrants live in fear of being uprooted from loved ones and face job insecurity simply due to their lack of status. We need the President to halt deportations that separate families, disrupt businesses, destroy hopes and dreams, and ultimately prevent our country from moving forward.

“The pressure continues to be on House leadership. As we await the release of principles from House leadership on immigration reform, we call upon them to support a just and sensible roadmap to citizenship, preservation of family unity, and protection of workers’ rights. It’s time for Congress to catch up to the rest of America and pass legislation that establishes a fair and equitable immigration system, creates millions of jobs, boosts our economy, and aligns with our values as a nation.” 

This post was written by Patricia Diaz