When I was six years old, my mother and I left Communist Poland and settled in New Jersey. We came here for the promise of a better life and of a country where those with power weren’t allowed to take advantage of those without at a whim.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if today, 46 years later, federal agents came to my door and deported me to a country I no longer know -- because of something my parents did when I was a small child, or because the president was just feeling particularly vindictive that day. This is the predicament that DREAMers and DACA recipients face.
I would support bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform which provides funds to better secure the border, encourages legal immigration that will strengthen our economy, create a tough but fair process to bring unauthorized immigrants out of the shadows, and strengthens employment verification.
I fully support the extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, because by any common measure, DREAMers are Americans. They grew up in America; they pay taxes; they have started businesses; they have served in our military; and if deported they would be forced to start entirely new lives in countries they have never known.
I strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their families at the border. There is nothing unlawful about approaching a customs officer and asking for asylum from repression or violence; to punish people for doing so by taking away their children is heartless and lawless. I would oppose using a single cent of taxpayer money to fund the practice of family separation by ICE.
I believe a border wall would be a harmful symbol of America shutting itself off from the world and a waste of money -- anyone with a ladder can get over a wall and most illegal immigration these days results from people overstaying visas, not from crossing the border.
Unlike Congressman Lance, I have consistently opposed the Trump administration’s ban on travel from Muslim majority countries and closing the door to refugees coming to America. These policies hurt our national security by alienating allies who are fighting with us against terrorism and are inconsistent with our values as Americans.
And finally, I support granting additional protections for domestic and farm workers. Many of these jobs are taken by immigrants on work visas. This leaves these workers vulnerable to exploitation from their employers, who can threaten deportation if these law abiding immigrants speak out against low wages or abhorrent work conditions. Abuse of migrant workers also keeps wages artificially low for all workers.