September 2, 2013. Spartanburg Herald Journal. By Victoria Middleton, Executive Director, ACLU of South Carolina. It is widely known that our country’s immigration system is broken. The status quo — which keeps millions of aspiring Americans in the shadows and in legal limbo — does not meet the needs of South Carolina business, does not promote public safety in our communities, and certainly does not respect our cherished civil liberties.
Reform is urgently needed to restore fairness to an immigration system under which almost 2 million people have been deported by the Obama administration. This tearing apart of families has had a devastating impact.
Congress should pass reform that does not include unnecessary border enforcement, which does not reflect our security needs and also harms civil liberties. As Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, has said about the spike in Southwest border security, “It is a sort of mini-industrial complex syndrome that has set in there, and we’re going to have to guard against it every step of the way.”
This out-of-control border security industry has cost taxpayers $219 billion in today’s dollars since 1986, and the costs would only go higher under current proposals.
In June, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan immigration reform bill by a wide margin (68-32). Now the House of Representatives must act to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes a road map to citizenship and does not waste money on unnecessary increased enforcement.
When our South Carolina representatives return to Congress in the fall, modernizing our country’s immigration system by creating a road map to citizenship for aspiring citizens who already contribute to their U.S. communities should be a high priority. We need reform that respects civil liberties, honors the constitutional guarantees of due process and equal treatment to all people in our country, and truly enhances our nation’s security and economy.