U.S. IMMIGRATION AND BORDER SECURITY POLICY
WHEREAS, the topics of immigration reform, border security, and state and federal cooperation on these issues are of great importance to The United States Conference of Mayors; and
WHEREAS, the United States is a nation of immigrants, a nation in which immigrants have made and continue to make important contributions to both our economy and culture; and
WHEREAS, studies reveal that immigrants are a major source of tax revenue; and
WHEREAS, immigrants have demonstrated their patriotism through their valor and bravery in defending this country in numerous military conflicts; and
WHEREAS, border security is critical to the safety, quality of life, and economic prosperity of the border regions of the United States; and
WHEREAS, our historical receptiveness toward immigrants reflects our faith in the American ideal, that it is possible for all men and women to improve their status via hard work, and that opportunity should be denied to no one on the basis of their race or country of origin; and
WHEREAS, though today's immigrants, like yesterday's, may arrive in the United States with no money, looking different and speaking foreign languages, they come with an entrepreneurial spirit and desire to live the American Dream; and
WHEREAS, immigrants come to the United States because we are a nation that cherishes individual freedom and rewards individual effort; and
WHEREAS, across the world, walls erected to divide peoples and nations are symbols of failed and repressive efforts to thwart human freedom and prosperity; and
WHEREAS, enforcement of federal immigration laws is neither a state nor local responsibility and further that state and local agencies do not have the training, expertise or authority to enforce immigration laws; and
WHEREAS, the principle of posse comitatus, meaning the necessary and traditional separation of civilian and military authority, is critical and should be renewed and strengthened; and
WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has been, and remains, committed to the protection of civil rights, liberties and security for all peoples as expressed in the United States Constitution,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on our nation's immigration policies to the following principles:
Limited state resources should not be diverted to support policies and initiatives that tolerate or result in racial profiling in our communities.
Instead of wasting precious resources on erecting a wall, the federal government should invest now in secure, fast and smart technology solutions to afford fast movement in our Hemisphere of people and products.
Initiatives aimed at promoting investment and economic opportunities in Mexico, such as the U.S.-Mexico Partnership for Prosperity and Mexico's 3 for 1 program that encourages the use of remittances to build local infrastructure and economic development in Mexico, should be supported.
Legislation that authorizes additional federal funds to states and hospitals for reimbursement of the indirect and direct costs related to emergency health services, prosecution, and the incarceration of undocumented immigrants should be supported.
A temporary worker program that allows employers to sponsor low-skilled immigrant workers to obtain a permanent residence status should be supported. Undocumented students under the age of 21 should be able to satisfy the requirements under such a program by attending an institution of higher education or a secondary school full-time.
Our nation must remain committed to the constitutional
principles that guarantee a public education for all
children regardless of their immigration status.
o Legislation that focuses solely on enforcement will be ineffective. Our nation needs and should support fair and comprehensive immigration legislation that balances border security concerns with a recognition of the demands of the
U.S. for workers in the numerous sectors of the U.S. labor force, including agriculture, construction, and the service economy.
Local law enforcement should not be required to stop, interrogate, detain or otherwise participate in immigration enforcement activities.
Our nation should offer a path to citizenship, under clearly defined guidelines, to immigrants who have demonstrated citizenship, paid taxes, and parented citizen children and grandchildren.
Legislation that provides a larger number of employment and family-based green cards to promote family unification, reduce backlogs in application processing, and that demands sensitive quotas, should be supported.
Federal resources should be focused on strategies to
improve interdiction at our borders.
It is the federal government's obligation to fund and
oversee a robust Border Patrol.
The United States should embrace technological solutions that offer low-cost alternatives to the interdiction efforts of local law enforcement that lead inevitably to racial profiling
The development and implementation of plans regarding information-sharing, international and federal-state- local coordination, technology, and anti-smuggling should be supported.
The development of multilateral agreements to establish a North American security plan to improve border security should be supported.
Measures that would include anti-fraud measures and biometric data on all visa and immigration documents should be supported.
The ongoing implementation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America between the U.S., Canada and Mexico aimed at establishing a common security strategy, competitiveness, quality of life, and to promote economic growth by streamlining the secure movement of low-risk traffic across our shared borders, should be supported.
Legislation that promotes any action by civilians individual or groups - that interfere with the duties of United States law enforcement officials in securing the border region should be condemned. This should include the apprehension of individuals, the use of any weapons against individuals, or purporting to act in any law enforcement capacity.
Legislation that criminalizes immigrants, their families, and the organizations that provide assistance to them, should be condemned.
Legislation or any acts that violate the human rights of immigrants, documented or undocumented should be condemned. Law enforcement agencies, both federal and state, must treat all immigrants with respect and dignity and adhere to the legal rights they are entitled under state, federal or international treaties, especially the rights of minors through the utilization of procedures and programs that protect them.