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Comments on Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Keeping Families Together

December 10, 2014

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association (NEA), and the students they serve, we would like to offer our views in advance of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on President Obama’s executive action on immigration and the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform. We would like to first thank the Committee for holding this hearing on family unity and comprehensive immigration reform. Ensuring family unity for millions of aspiring Americans, and the need to act on immigration reform, are important moral issues that speak to the very values our country was built on.

We urge the Senate to continue the leadership shown in passing S. 744 last year, and work to see Congress pass a comprehensive bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million aspiring Americans; continues to preserve the unity of family; and includes the DREAM Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

President Obama’s recent announcement of executive action on immigration has the potential to bring five million aspiring Americans out from the shadows, many of whom were brought into the country through no fault of their own as children, and including the parents of children who are U.S. citizens. This action includes the expansion of the DACA program which has served to keep approximately 700,000 students and their families together. We applaud the focus on family unity in this executive action. Keeping families together is both the morally right thing to do and allows these aspiring Americans to add to the rich cultural tapestry of our country, contribute to our economy, and purse the American dream.    

Fixing our broken immigration system is a top priority for educators because it has a profound impact on our students, their families, communities. Educators witness firsthand the critical role family stability plays in student success. Yet, a growing number of students live in fear that our nation’s immigration policies will break up their families, forcing them to choose between their country and their loved ones.

While educators welcome this necessary executive action, we still have a long way to go. This is only a temporary fix, something more permanent must be done. It is past time to see comprehensive immigration reform become reality, we urge you to continue your bipartisan efforts in fixing our broken immigration system.

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations