Center for Rural Affairs Board of Directors Calls for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Release Date: 

06/11/2013

Contact(s): 

 Brian Depew, briand@cfra.org, 402.687.2100, or;
John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org, 402.687.2104 ext. 1010

Lyons, NE - Last weekend the Board of Directors of the Center for Rural Affairs unanimously called for comprehensive federal legislation to fix the broken immigration system and strengthen our communities.
 

Board President and Fullerton Nebraska Farmer Jim Knopik said, “As the United States Senate takes up their immigration bill, we felt that it was important to emphasize that reforming our broken immigration system is especially important to rural America.”

The Center’s policy position calls for:

  • An opportunity for undocumented immigrants who fulfill the requirements for obtaining citizenship to remain in the US as citizens.
  • A more robust process for legal immigration that shortens the timeline and waiting list for legal immigration and creates clear avenues for future immigrants.
  • Practical and appropriate limits as determined by an independent commission on the number of manually skilled workers allowed to immigrate legally each year.
  • More effective enforcement of existing wage and labor laws and of the prohibition on hiring undocumented immigrants and falsely classifying them as independent contractors.

According to Knopik, the United States admits only 10,000 manually skilled workers on work visas each year, about one for every 100 immigrants who enter without a visa and find work. "The door to legal, documented immigration used by earlier generations is today largely closed for all but the wealthy and well-educated," Knopik said.

Kathie Starkweather, director of rural community development work, went on to explain that the Center for Rural Affairs further recognizes the need to fully engage immigrants in rural communities and American democracy through support for minority business development, voter registration, leadership development and other means. "Such approaches bring people together and build community," Starkweather said.

The Center’s statement on immigration can be found here: http://www.cfra.org/node/4634

Center for Rural Affairs
Board Adopted Resolution on Immigration Policy


In accordance with its mission, the Center for Rural Affairs supports comprehensive federal legislation to address immigration. Such comprehensive legislation should include:

  • An opportunity for undocumented immigrants who fulfill the requirements for obtaining citizenship to remain in the US as citizens.
  • A more robust process for legal immigration that shortens the timeline and waiting list for legal immigration and creates clear avenues for future immigrants.
  • Practical and appropriate limits as determined by an independent commission on the number of manually skilled workers allowed to immigrate legally each year that are higher than the current limit of 10,000 per year, but sufficient to prevent downward pressure on wages of workers in manually skilled sectors.
  • More effective enforcement of existing wage and labor laws and of the prohibition on hiring undocumented immigrants and falsely classifying them as independent contractors.

The Center opposes state and local legislation to impose responsibility of immigration law on state and local law enforcement agencies.

In addition, we strongly support and encourage efforts to fully engage immigrants in rural communities and American democracy through support for minority business development, voter registration, leadership development and other means. Such approaches bring people together and build community whereas the aforementioned state and local immigration proposals are dividing people and weakening communities.

Adopted June 2013

 

 

 

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