As the U.S. government works diligently on comprehensive immigration reform, human rights activists urge the Obama administration to uphold the basic rights of non-citizens when important decisions are made. According to Human Rights Watch, there are four essential principles that immigration authorities should take into account to prevent further “injustices” from occurring.
The agency used 20 years’ worth of data to outline four concrete principles and 26 other recommendations that could benefit the immigration system. The principles include respecting and protecting families; protecting immigrants from workplace crimes and personal violations; focusing enforcement efforts on genuine threats and protecting due process for all residents of the United States; and providing a legalization process to protect the basic human rights of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants.
“The current U.S. immigration system is unsustainable, practically, economically and morally,” said Alison Parker, U.S. program director for Human Rights Watch. “With a new presidential term and a new openness to discuss immigration reform, President Obama and Congress should seize this opportunity to create a fairer, more effective and more humane immigration system.”
The President is set to meet with labor and business leaders on February 5 at the White House to gain input from the nation’s progressive leaders. According to David Jackson’s USA Today article, President Obama hopes that this will allow his administration to create a program that fits immigration reform into the broader national agenda that includes economic growth and competitiveness on a global scale.
The current bipartisan plan includes enhanced border control and a pathway to U.S. citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who already reside in the United States. Although some senators working on the program believe that the pathway to citizenship will serve as amnesty for those who broke the law, President Obama’s aids plan to complete public lobbying for additional citizen input.