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George W. Bush Institute, Accompanied By 20+ Organizations, Calls On Policymakers To Reform U.S. Immigration System

Diverse alliance joins George W. Bush Institute in urging congressional leaders to holistically reform immigration system with future prosperity of nation in mind

May 11, 2021

DALLAS — Today, the George W. Bush Institute and more than 20 leading organizations distributed a joint letter calling upon our nation's policymakers to reform the whole of the American immigration system. Signatories include refugee advocacy groups, business associations, faith-based groups, and policy organizations, among others.

Pointing to the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, the group urges Congressional leaders to advance recent immigration reform bills and supplement them to address remaining systemic challenges to finally end the cycle of compromising situations at the southern border. These include: continuing to secure our border while ensuring adequate humanitarian support, addressing the root causes of migration from Central America, and improving legal immigration pathways, which are essential to U.S. economic success.

As the letter states, "The current situation underscores the urgent need to modernize America's immigration system so it can increase the efficiency of legal immigration, more effectively ensure American security, welcome refugees, and maintain the fabric of the American Dream." 

To access the full letter and learn more, click here. The letter can be found in its entirety below. 

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As you know, the current migrant increase at the U.S.-Mexico border is creating strains on our country's immigration and humanitarian services. However, this situation is not new, nor is it political: we have seen similar numbers at the border before, and, without meaningful bipartisan action, we will see them again. The current situation underscores the urgent need to modernize America's immigration system so it can increase the efficiency of legal immigration, more effectively ensure American security, welcome refugees, and maintain the fabric of the American Dream.

We applaud the bipartisan efforts in Congress to advance the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, create a permanent pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, and allow those on Temporary Protected Status to apply for green cards. Individual immigration reform bills, including these, are welcome drivers of change, representing strong steps toward reforming our broken system. But these efforts alone will ultimately not address today's border situation or any other elements currently straining the system. Put simply, more work remains.

Border security remains a core priority, and at the same time, lawful migration should also continue. All migrants in our care should be treated with respect, including families and children. Through immigration reform that addresses the entirety of our nation's needs, we can end the cycle of compromising situations at the southern border by ensuring that migrants have appropriate and accessible legal channels to migrate and receive adequate humanitarian support.

It is vital to address the root causes of this migration while improving border conditions and legal immigration pathways. Challenges in the Northern Triangle of Central America—Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras—are displacing thousands, driving them to the U.S.-Mexico border and increasing tensions upon their arrival. Violence, corruption, economic turmoil, and recent natural disasters leave the region in urgent need of diplomacy and strategic economic support; on both of these fronts, a significant effort is needed by the United States.

As you move forward on solutions to this specific situation, and on efforts to fix our immigration system more broadly, it is important to remember that America benefits from immigration. Data show that increased immigration spurs U.S. economic growth and productivity. Additionally, each of our experiences over the past year have shown us that immigrants are on the front lines of the pandemic, serving all of us. At the end of 2020, nearly 23 million U.S. essential workers—or one in five—were immigrants. Our legal immigration system remains too inflexible, harming not only migrants in need, but our nation as well. Those that give back to their communities and contribute to our nation's economy—including undocumented immigrants who already live in the U.S.—should have an opportunity to earn legal status or citizenship.

Today's border situation should inspire us to prevent the next one by finally fixing our nation's broken immigration system. This cannot wait. While the increase at the southern border will eventually subside, the broader problems with our nation's immigration system will remain without additional reform. We call upon Congress and the Biden Administration to take further bipartisan action to meaningfully modernize the whole of America's immigration system to ensure the future prosperity and security of our nation.

 

Sincerely,


George W. Bush Institute

American Action Forum

American Business Immigration Coalition

Americans for Prosperity

Bethany Christian Services

Bipartisan Policy Center

Business Roundtable

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc.

HIAS - The Global Jewish Organization for Refugees

Human Rights First

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

The LIBRE Initiative

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

National Immigration Forum

New American Economy

Niskanen Center

North Texas Commission

Refugees International

RefugePoint

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Texas Association of Business

UnidosUS

Union for Reform Judaism

United Stateless

World Relief

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George W. Bush Institute

Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George W. Bush Institute is an action-oriented, nonpartisan, policy organization with the mission of developing leaders, advancing policy, and taking action to solve today’s most pressing challenges. Through three Impact Centers — Domestic Excellence, Global Leadership, and an Engagement Agenda — the Bush Institute delivers measurable results that save and improve lives. To learn more, visit www.BushCenter.org. 

George W. Bush Institute — SMU Economic Growth Initiative

The Bush Institute — SMU Economic Growth Initiative combines the public policy expertise of the George W. Bush Institute and the academic expertise of SMU. The joint initiative draws from economic policy-making experience at the highest levels and from cutting edge academic research to identify ideas for promoting innovation, entrepreneurship, and faster, more inclusive growth through global competitiveness and sound immigration policy.

 

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