Washington, D.C. – The League of Women Voters today hailed Senate passage of the comprehensive immigration reform bill. "There are some troublesome items in the bill," said Elisabeth MacNamara, President of the League of Women Voters of the U.S., "but overall it is a positive step forward."
"The bill provides a path for immigrants to earn citizenship, and that is the single most important element of the bill," MacNamara said. "We believe it is essential that all in the U.S. have a clear path to the duties and responsibilities of citizenship in order to strengthen our nation and society. A dangerous precedent would be created if Congress were to create a large new subclass of people in the U.S. -- those who live here permanently but who are not required to carry the full duties and responsibilities of citizenship," according to MacNamara.
"Citizenship is the fundamental sign of allegiance to the U.S., our Constitution, and our way of life," MacNamara stated. "In order to become citizens, immigrants must learn about our system of government, understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and swear allegiance to the United States of America. These are fundamental steps to integration in American society, and it is in the interests of current citizens, immigrants and future generations that we build one nation. Allowing or even requiring currently undocumented persons to gain permanent residency without becoming citizens will create a large group within the U.S. who stand apart and are neither allowed nor required to fully commit or contribute to our society."
"The League believes that comprehensive immigration reform must include an efficient, expeditious system for legal entry into the United States, improved safeguards against illegal immigration, and reforms that meet the economic, business and employment needs of the U.S.," said MacNamara.
"The Senate bill aims to achieve these fundamental goals," MacNamara said. "Speaker Boehner and the House Leadership should not just put their heads in the sand and hope comprehensive immigration reform will go away."
"The League calls on Speaker John Boehner and the full House of Representatives to move ahead with comprehensive immigration reform legislation," MacNamara concluded.