Clinton Proposes Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Nathan Carpenter, Contributing Writer

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A defining issue of the presidential election has been immigration, largely due to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s controversial proposal to halt illegal immigration to the U.S. by building a wall on the Mexico–U.S. border.

Immigration is an issue that the Oberlin community has also made a priority, though in a far different direction than Trump: In 2014, Oberlin made the decision to consider undocumented students as domestic, rather than international, applicants, making an Oberlin education far more accessible to them. Oberlin students understand the importance of a multicultural society and embrace opportunities to engage with people of different identities and backgrounds.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that will support the millions of immigrants currently living in this country, as well as the millions more who will come in the future. Her plan creates a path to citizenship that will allow full and equal access to this country’s opportunities for those who want them. She believes that we cannot rest until immigrants and refugees in the U.S. are afforded the dignity and respect they deserve.

Unfortunately, any discussion of immigration in the presidential campaign has largely been defined by Trump’s racist rhetoric. It is important to remember, however, that Clinton’s plan for substantive immigration reform is powerful, effective, compassionate and warrants discussion and recognition.

Clinton has been fighting for immigration reform for decades. As a New York senator, she co-sponsored the SOLVE Act, a 2004 immigration reform bill, and supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act in 2006 and 2007. She also co-sponsored the proposed DREAM Act in 2003, 2005 and 2007, which would have granted partial and then full residency for young undocumented immigrants. As Secretary of State, Clinton publicly renewed her support for progressive immigration legislation, declaring that the State Department under her lead was “committed to comprehensive immigration reform.”

Moving forward, Clinton’s commitment to immigration reform will remain strong. In her first 100 days in office, she promises to introduce legislation allowing for a pathway to full and equal citizenship. She would also support accepting refugees fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Syria — an important step in standing up for human rights around the globe.

The immigration system in this country is broken. The Department of Homeland Security estimates that 11 million undocumented immigrants currently live in our country. These people contribute to their communities and to the country’s economy. According to a 2015 study conducted by the immigrant advocacy group FWD, immigrants are twice as likely to start a new business than an American born in the U.S. that year. They pay billions in income tax — which is more than can be said of Trump this year. They also live in a state of perpetual uncertainty.

Despite contributing billions of dollars to the economy, undocumented immigrants are not afforded the same privileges and opportunities as full citizens. They do not have the same access to healthcare, education or other essential public services. Clinton understands that this problem must be addressed with urgency, and she will fight to ensure that immigrants and refugees who come to this country with the hope of bettering their lives are given the opportunity to achieve citizenship with full and equal access to the basic public services that we all need.

Oberlin students understand that it is important to treasure our differences. Our campus’ commitment to social justice, equity and inclusion is chief among the reasons why many of us were initially drawn to this institution. It is important for this campus and the state of Ohio to reject bigotry and xenophobia in all of its forms. This November, we have a clear path to do exactly that. Clinton has presented a plan to reform our broken immigration system by making it fair and accessible; her opponent has, without proposing any real, coherent plan, called immigrants from Mexico rapists and drug dealers.

This November, take a stand by voting for effective and compassionate immigration reform by voting for Hillary Clinton.

Are you interested in helping out with the campaign? Stop by the Ohio Together office at 5 South Main Street to help us fight for the rights of all people in the U.S. during the final push of this presidential campaign.

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