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Ahead of floor action and votes this week on immigration legislation FCNL shared the below recommendations with Congress.

We urge Senators to vote YES on proposals that are narrowly centered on a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth.

There are only two bipartisan, bicameral pieces of legislation that would responsibly do this:

  1. The Dream Act (S. 1615), which would offer a standalone pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth. This remains our preferred piece of legislation.

  2. The USA Act (S. 2367), which has four components:

    • Citizenship – for immigrant youth with a minimum 5, maximum 13 year path.
    • Border – requires DHS data reporting on deployed technology and barriers – including a cost-per-mile analysis for securing situational awareness on the southern border by 2020. Authorizes $110 million for increased collaboration between state, local, tribal law enforcement and CBP.
    • Root Causes – re-prioritization of aid to Central America ensuring that U.S. dollars are being spent responsibly to mitigate ongoing violence in the region.
    • Immigration Judges – to address ongoing backlog in the court system.

The USA Act is not the bill FCNL would have written however, the included border provisions aspire to be data-driven, accountable, and developed in consultation with border communities. These goals remain absent in other proposals.

We urge Senators to vote NO on any proposals that fundamentally change our immigration system, especially family sponsorship and access to asylum.

Proposals mirrored after the White House proposal, the RAISE Act, or the SECURE Act stand in stark contrast to the immigration policies we seek by:

  1. Limiting family sponsorship. FCNL rejects eliminating green card programs for parents, siblings, and adult children. This permanently bans families from reuniting in this country, rather than remedying existing prolonged family separation at the hands of a broken system.

  2. Failing to protect asylum seekers. FCNL rejects proposals that: limit access to immigration judges and asylum officers, amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act to expeditiously return Central American children to harm, or keep asylum seekers in prolonged detention.

  3. Cutting legal immigration. FCNL rejects cuts to visas that will lock out immigrants, or push more people toward avenues that are severely backlogged. People should not be forced to choose between stability and legality.

  4. Increasing detention. FCNL rejects the expansion of immigration detention and mandatory minimums, and urges Congress to increase accountability and oversight of existing detention.

  5. Harming border communities. FCNL rejects expansion of border enforcement that currently undermines the safety, due process, human rights, and civil liberties of border communities and migrants.

Strong, faithful communities rely on our ability to welcome the stranger and recognize that of God in each person. FCNL remains ready and willing to work with Congress to meaningfully reform underlying problems with the U.S. immigration system in a bipartisan manner.