A humane and thoughtful approach to immigration reform is long overdue. Reforming our immigration policy will not be easy, but that’s no excuse for inaction. It’s long past time for Congress to act on a comprehensive solution.
Earl believes that any comprehensive immigration bill must address the issue of the 11 million people currently living in the US without documentation by giving them a clear path to citizenship, something that three-quarters of all Americans support. He supports these law-abiding, tax-paying residents of the United States, who are already part of the fabric of American life and society, especially young people who are Americans in every way but for their papers.
It is of particular importance to Earl to ensure that children who were brought to the United States by their parents are given a chance to achieve permanent resident status. He's an outspoken advocate for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or “DREAM” Act, giving a path to citizenship to children who came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday, who have demonstrated achievement, and who demonstrate good moral character. He believes enacting these changes will not only strengthen the economy, but align our practices with established notions of basic fairness and inclusion, which is a bedrock of American history.
A comprehensive immigration bill must also reduce wait-times for people trying to follow our immigration laws and reunite with their families. Simplifying and stabilizing an effective guest worker program will protect workers and businesses, strengthening security and border control against drug cartels, and give employers in all business sectors the resources they need to hire a legal workforce, especially those educated in the United States and graduating from our colleges with a degree in science, technology, engineering, or math.
Immigration rules have a substantial effect on the competitiveness of our agricultural sector. This industry needs a stable and legal workforce to continue providing the food that every American family depends on. An important aspect of immigration reform will be resolving this debate in farming communities across the country. This is why Earl supports efforts to allow more agricultural workers in the US, which is also supported by a wide range of immigration leaders, labor unions, civil rights organizations, religious groups, employers, and farmworkers.
In Oregon, agriculture is a multi-billion industry, which is why Earl supports reforming the H-2A visa program that allows workers into the country to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work, ensuring our farmers have the employees they need for each season’s crop. It is critical that any reform in this area also include an assurance of fair pay for these seasonal workers.
As a longtime champion for LGBTQ equality in our nation’s laws, Earl recognizes that the current immigration system does not include any provisions for same sex couples, so gay and lesbian citizens have no process in which to naturalize their partners and keep families together. Earl hopes to end this discrimination. These pieces of legislation create a new “permanent partner” category for immigrants so that couples in committed, long-term relationships are afforded the same opportunities as heterosexual couples.
Earl believes the immigration debate and subsequent solutions should encompass the reasons people are compelled to come to the United States. One of the most effective ways to curb the influx of people emigrating from their own countries is to improve conditions abroad. He passionately supports policies that will advance the quality of life in other countries, not only for humanitarian reasons, but because it assists the United States from a national security and immigration perspective.
For more information regarding Earl's work and views related to Immigration, please contact the office.