The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt a broad set of advocacy principles concerning immigration reform. The discussion will be shared with federal lawmakers as they craft new immigration laws.
County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith indicated that actions by the Board will make it possible for the County’s values to be presented to Congress.
“Immigration reform is critical to our county’s economic and cultural wellbeing,” said President Ken Yeager, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors.
The County’s broad advocacy principles include the following:
· The immigration system must serve the national interest and meet the needs of our economy;
· All immigrants, regardless of their status, should be provided the ability to become citizens;
· Immigration policies should promote commerce, respect rights, protect workers, and protect national security;
· Immigration and immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility; and
· Counties should receive reimbursement for services provides to immigrants.
“While the problems with the current immigration system must be resolved in Washington, we know that whatever Congress approves will have a direct fiscal and human impact on us here in Santa Clara County.” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, District 1. “We should continue to focus on the issues most likely to affect County government.”
According to the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, the United States’ immigrant population stood at almost 40 million and an estimated 10-11 million immigrants living and working in the country are undocumented. In Santa Clara County, approximately
668,000 residents are foreign born and a 2011 report by the Public Policy Institute of California estimated that 180,000 people living in the County were undocumented.
The County Office of Human Relations data shows that Santa Clara County has more immigrants than any other counties in northern California. The largest undocumented communities are from Latin America, China, India and the Philippines.
Shortly after his re-election, President Obama expressed that immigration reform would be a priority for 2013 and a growing number of republican leaders has also stated it is time to act. These comments and recent actions by a group of Senators and the President indicate that Congress will discuss and debate immigration reform efforts in the months to come.
The federal immigration debate is focused on the following key issues:
· Immigration reform and workforce needs;
· Integration and citizenship;
· Borders and interior enforcement; and
· State and local immigration developments;
A bipartisan group of eight Senators and the President have each released their framework for comprehensive reform. The proposals from the Senate group and the President are similar and both include border security enforcement, an earned path to citizenship, improving the legal immigration system, and an enhanced employment system.
The President’s plan would treat same-sex families equally to different-sex families, while the Senate proposal does not mention same-sex families. The Senator’s plan includes a new program for hiring low-skilled workers, while the President’s proposal does not.
Congress and Senate have both started hearings of debate on the proposals, and the Senate is targeting to have a bill ready for floor action in late spring or summer.
Danielle Christian, Intergovernmental Relations (408)299-5183
Posted: February 27, 2013