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League Board of Directors Approves Immigration Reform Principles

Congress Urged to Take Swift Action to Enact Comprehensive Reform

July 18, 2013
The League of California Cities at its board of directors meeting last week in San Diego adopted nine immigration reform principles developed by the League’s Immigration Reform Task Force.
These recommendations will be immediately sent to the California Congressional delegation in a letter that urges swift congressional action. Immigration reform in the form of S. 741, which was proposed by the bipartisan Gang of Eight senators, has now been approved by the Senate and the next move belongs to the House of Representatives.
The League board of directors formed the Immigration Reform Task Force at its meeting in February because of the pressing need for national policy that addresses this substantial issue. On daily basis city officials, staff and residents are affected by the current dysfunctional immigration system.
The League of California Cities supports the following federal Immigration Reform Principles with the highest priority attached to No. 2, with a particular focus on the urgency of eliminating illegal entry at the borders. All of the nine principles are contained in S. 741.
  1. Prompt Action Needed. Congress should move quickly to enact comprehensive reform of the current immigration laws with support of the Administration to implement the immigration laws effectively
  2. Consistent Federal Enforcement Required. The federal government should enforce its current immigration laws consistently and vigorously to eliminate illegal entry at the borders, visa overstays, working without proper documentation, and employing undocumented workers.
  3. Increased Enforcement of Visa Laws Required. The federal government must increase enforcement of visa overstays through the full implementation and staffing of the US-VISIT and SEVIS programs.
  4. Do Not Mandate Local Enforcement of Federal Immigration Laws. Local personnel, such as police officers, fire inspectors, educators, health personnel and social service personnel, should not be conscripted into federal service because the federal government has not adequately funded and staffed its immigration enforcement agencies; and the federal government must not transfer the responsibility of enforcing U.S. immigration laws to local personnel by making undocumented status in the U.S. a criminal offense.
  5. Increase Worksite Enforcement; Modernize Verification System. The federal government must strengthen its worksite enforcement capacity and dramatically increase enforcement efforts at places of employment, as well as providing employers with a universal, reliable, effective, secure, non-discriminatory, and non-counterfeitable employee verification system, using the most up-to-date technology that will minimize fraud.
  6. Provide Efficient Process for Securing Visas and Legal Permanent Residency. The federal government must increase its capacity and infrastructure to enforce the laws and provide efficient means for foreign nationals to obtain legal authorization for temporary visas or legal permanent residency.
  7. Improve Process for Temporary Workers, and to Become Legal Resident or Citizen. The federal government must provide an appropriate, legal means of immigration, as is determined to be necessary and effective for the United States, for foreign nationals that want to work here temporarily, become legal permanent residents, or gain citizenship.
  8. Provide Path to Legal Status and Citizenship With Strict Conditions. The federal government should establish a process whereby undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States may earn legalized status through payment of appropriate fees and back taxes, background checks, absence of criminal or gang activity, consistent work history, and meeting English and civics requirements; and that the immigrants who have earned such legal status should also be able to apply for citizenship through additional processes, as appropriate and practical, as long as they do not move ahead of applicants with proper documentation waiting to adjust their status or those waiting on lists in their home countries.
  9. Assist Local Governments Affected by New Immigrants. The federal government should provide local governments with financial and technical assistance to alleviate the local impact of new immigrants, including the costs of providing social services, health care, education, language services, and civic integration.
Task Force Background
Chaired by Immediate Past President and Mountain View Council Member Mike Kasperzak, the task force comprised of a group of the League board of directors and the chairs and vice chairs of five League policy committees appointed by League President and Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard. The group was formed to help guide the development of League immigration reform policy.

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