shorty chirps back; i do not totally agree or disagree

Dear Ms. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd:
Thank you for sharing with me your concerns regarding the crisis in immigration that our nation faces. I have heard from many of my New York constituents on this important topic.
Enclosed is my most recent statement on immigration reform. I hope that you will read the statement in its entirety as this is a complex issue for which there are no simple solutions.
Please know that the thoughts and concerns of my constituents are very important to me and I send my thanks that you took the time to write. For updates on this and the many important issues being considered by the United States Senate, please check my website ate
March 8, 2006
Immigration is the lifeblood of America , a bedrock value tied to our founding and one that constantly renews the greatness of our country. America is and will always be a home for people who are willing to put in the hard work to create a better life for themselves and their families.
Our immigration system is in crisis. It is estimated that we have over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States , 1.7 million of whom are children. Our current laws fail by not providing adequately for our national security. Also as a result of our broken system, many families are forced apart, unable to reunite with their spouses, parents, children, and siblings because of a shortage of visas. Our current system allows unscrupulous employers to skirt our laws and exploit undocumented workers in the name of cheap labor . As a consequence of our broken immigration system, there is a huge drain on our state social services, including financial strains on our local and state law enforcement. The situation leaves us with a lot of tough choices. We have a system that is broken and we have to find practical but fair solutions to fix it.
I neither support illegal immigration nor the enactment of fruitless schemes that would penalize churches and hospitals for helping the truly needy. That will not fix the mess we are in.
I support comprehensive immigration reform.
That reform has to be based on:
Strengthening our borders to make us safer from the threat of terrorism and using new technology to help our Border Patrol agents be more effective;
Greater cross-border co-operation with our neighbors, especially Mexico , to solve the problem of illegal immigration;

New enforcement laws that are both strict and fair;
Harsh penalties for those who exploit undocumented workers;
A fairer process for people seeking to come to America , especially for those whose families have been torn apart;
A path to earned citizenship for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar for becoming a citizen.
So I will support plans that meet these principles, and I will oppose one-sided solutions that simply sound tough but do little to deal with either our porous borders or the millions of families who live here.
Here is my reasoning.
A Nation of Immigrants and Laws
Ours is a nation of immigrants. Our national identity and heritage – who we are as Americans – is shaped by our commitment to welcoming people of diverse backgrounds who come to our shores to pursue better lives for themselves and their families. We are rightfully proud of this commitment, and we are made better by those who come here to pursue the American Dream. There is no better example of our nation’s rich cultural heritage and diversity than New York , and its prosperity is a testament to how our country is enriched by the contributions of immigrants. When our forefathers created this nation, they envisioned a “land of opportunity,” and we must never show contempt or disdain for that vision.
But ours is also a nation of laws. It is our respect for the rule of law that distinguishes the United States from many other nations and is no doubt one of the reasons people from around the world yearn to come here. Our notions of justice and fairness are revered, and it is often the pursuit of that justice that brings immigrants to our country. We betray our ideals when our laws cease to reflect these values.
There are many competing voices in the immigration debate, and because our national heritage is at its heart a story of immigrants, it is often a passionate and emotional one. But as we move forward and undertake the thoughtful reform of our immigration laws, we must continue to embrace our uniquely American values of being a nation that is both welcoming to immigrants but also respectful of the law.
Strengthening Our Borders
Smart reform must have as an essential component a plan to strengthen our northern and southern borders. It is unconscionable to think that in a post-9/11 world we do not know precisely who is entering and exiting our country. Our homeland security requires that we know the identities of all people who cross our borders. In reforming our broken system, our efforts must be multifaceted and comprehensive. During my tenure in the Senate, I have supported efforts to increase exponentially the number of Border Patrol agents. By the end of this year, the ranks of our Border Patrol will have increased by 3,000 agents since 2001, a 30% increase. But the problem is not simply one of manpower. We also need to deploy new technology that can help our Border Patrol agents be more effective in stopping the thousands of undocumented immigrants who enter the country each day. Employing new surveillance equipment – like detection ! sensors, unmanned drones, and infrared cameras – can assist in this important work. This includes stopping the deplorable and tragic practice of human smuggling that preys on the undocumented.
We must also demand that our neighbors do their part. In particular, we must have a willing partner in Mexico if we are going to stem the tide of illegal immigration into the United States . Mexico needs to be more fully engaged in this effort if we are going fix our immigration system. We must also work together to ensure that our shared, 2,000-mile-long border with Mexico and 5,000-mile border with Canada do not become gateways into the United States for terrorists. That means improving the ways in which we share intelligence and information with our neighbors.
If we can succeed in securing our borders, the Department of Homeland Security will be freed to focus its resources and energies on other credible threats against our homeland.
The Need for New Enforcement Laws
Of course, enforcement of our immigration laws cannot start and stop at the border. We need an effective interior enforcement plan as well. In reforming our laws, we must enact strict and enforceable laws that are simultaneously effective and rationally-based. They can be neither rooted in prejudice nor play to peoples’ fears. In this vein, I oppose proposals – like the Sensenbrenner Bill (H.R.4437) – that target and criminalize the undocumented and punish those who would provide them with humanitarian assistance.
Among other things, our laws must go after unscrupulous employers who skirt our laws and exploit these workers in the pursuit of cheap labor. Our American values dictate that all people who put in a hard day’s work should receive a prevailing wage and have a safe workplace in which to work. We must honor that.
Regrettably in this struggle against illegal immigration, we have abandoned our state and local governments, leaving them to bear the burden and the cost of our failed national immigration policies. Unchecked illegal immigration strains our schools, hospitals, and local emergency services. And while the vast majority of undocumented people do not engage in criminal activity, there are those who do, putting an incredible strain on our local law enforcement agencies. For too long we have left our state and local governments to fend for themselves in this effort. They should not be made to bear this burden alone. They need the support of the federal government in dealing with illegal immigration.
Of course, our goal of comprehensive immigration reform can not be achieved by simply patching up our porous borders and promoting increased law enforcement. Smart reform that is consistent with our values also requires that we find a way to couple an orderly and legal immigration system with a policy committed to keeping families together and treating all immigrants with dignity. Our laws can be both strict and fair. We should not unduly punish the overwhelming majority of immigrants who work hard, raise families, pay their taxes, and contribute to their communities.
Preserving the Sanctity of the Family
Although we as Americans believe strongly in the sanctity of the family, our immigration laws do not reflect this value. Growing visa backlogs often prevent legal immigrants and United States citizens from uniting with their loved ones, keeping families separated for years and in the worst cases, tearing them apart. As these family visa backlogs swell, a growing number of families find themselves having to make a difficult choice – remain separated from their loved ones for years or encourage their family members to enter the country illegally so that they can be together. To be clear, these backlogs do not just affect immigrant families – they also affect American citizens who have family members living in other countries who are also caught in this bottleneck. Any reasonable immigration reform proposal must offer relief to those would-be immigrants who have tried to play by the rules by obtaining a family visa, but who have nonetheless been unable to reunite with their spouses, parents, children, and siblings because of a shortage of visas.
The Undocumented and an Earned Path to Legal Status
One of the consequences of our dysfunctional immigration system has been the creation of a growing underclass made up of undocumented people. Estimates have the number of undocumented in our country at approximately 11 million people, a number that grows by the thousands each day. They are here illegally because our current system permits it. Both the undocumented and the United States are complicit in this. But we cannot continue to ignore the problem. No one benefits from the current system. The undocumented are made to live in constant fear of persecution, too afraid to come forward when they are sick or in need of help. Conversely, our national security is imperiled because we have an enormous population of people we know nothing about. It is not enough that we simply know who is entering and exiting the country; we also need to identify who is already here. Our homeland security demands it.
Therefore, we must develop a system that gets the undocumented to come out of the shadows. There is not a single approach that can fix this crisis. The suggestion that enacting stricter and more enforceable deportation laws alone can solve this problem ignores reality. This will only force the undocumented deeper underground. New laws, which are both strict and fair, are certainly part of the answer, but we also need a worker program that encourages undocumented workers to come forward and identify themselves. While I categorically oppose any program that grants unconditional amnesty for illegal immigration, I do support providing undocumented workers with the opportunity to earn legal status in this country. For those who work hard, pay their taxes, continue to obey the law, and demonstrate a commitment to this country, the opportunity to eventually earn citizenship should also be available. A program such as this is not a free ride, and it certainly is not for everyone. Legal status must be earned, as it was by previous generations of immigrants who became citizens through perseverance and hard work.
Respecting Our Heritage and Providing for Our Homeland Security
Balancing all of these interests is not easy, but I am committed to working with my colleagues to create a comprehensive system that respects both the rule of law and our immigrant heritage and American values. As is etched on the Statue of Liberty, we must continue to welcome to our shores those who “yearn to breathe free.” But we must do so with an eye towards adopting new policies that encourage orderly, safe, and legal immigration that take into account the needs of our national security.
Sincerely yours,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

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2 Responses to shorty chirps back; i do not totally agree or disagree

  1. Bob Johnson says:

    Hi Jewels!
    I think theres something in this
    that speaks to the Govmints’ imigration emergency
    plans!! Dave MacGowan is the only Policy News source I trust! Check out the Center for an Informed
    America and Opine back-at-me!
    lovingly Tri-Polar-Bob

  2. Bob Johnson says:

    Hi Jewels!
    I think theres something in this
    that speaks to the Govmints’ imigration emergency
    plans!! Dave MacGowan is the only Policy News source I trust! Check out the Center for an Informed
    America and Opine back-at-me!
    lovingly Tri-Polar-Bob

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